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US Military Drops Largest Non-Nuclear Bomb on Islamic State (ISIS) underground complex in Afghanistan

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A Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) weapon is prepared for testing at the Eglin Air Force Armament Center on March 11, 2003. VOA

US, April 13, 2017: The U.S. military says it has dropped the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal on an Islamic State underground complex in Afghanistan.

A Pentagon statement said a GBU-43 bomb was dropped Thursday on an IS tunnel complex in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province near the border with Pakistan.

The device, called the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb, contains 11 tons of explosives. Based on its acronym, the U.S. Air Force has nicknamed it the “Mother of All Bombs.”

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Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said it was the first use of the bomb in a combat situation.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters in Washington he was unaware if President Donald Trump approved the military action, but said “we must deny them [IS] operational space, which we did.”

The bomb was dropped in response to IS’ increasing use of bunkers and tunnels to “thicken their defense,” General John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan said.

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“This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K,” Nicholson said.

The Pentagon did not indicate how much damage was inflicted on the IS stronghold or whether there were any casualties. (IANS)

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Saudi Arabia to Cooperate with India in Combating Terrorism

Prince Salman said Wednesday that there were potential opportunities for investment of $ 100 billion in India.

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Saudi Arabia, Modi, Terrorism
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, Feb. 20, 2019. VOA

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in New Delhi that terrorism is a common concern and his country would cooperate with India in combating terrorism and extremism.

On a visit to New Delhi, Prince Salman said Wednesday that there were potential opportunities for investment of $ 100 billion in India.

His trip to New Delhi has coincided with spiraling tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of a terror attack that killed 40 paramilitaries in Indian Kashmir.

Prince Salman’s meetings with Indian leaders came two days after he went to Pakistan. He did not mention the attack on Indian soldiers, but at a joint press appearance with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi he said “we reaffirm to India that we are ready to work in the intelligence sharing and political arenas to coordinate our efforts on terrorism.”

Referring to the recent “barbaric” attack in Kashmir, Modi said that the two countries had agreed that “it is extremely important to increase all possible pressure on countries supporting terrorism in any way.” The Indian leader said that destroying the infrastructure of terrorism, and punishing terrorists and their supporters is necessary.

India, Saudi Arabia, terrorism
The two countries signed five agreements in the areas of investment, tourism, housing and communications. Wikimedia

New Delhi, which accuses Pakistan of giving sanctuary to terror groups that carry out strikes in India, is trying to build diplomatic pressure against Islamabad. It gave Prince Salman a warm welcome with Modi breaking protocol to receive him personally at the airport on Tuesday.

The Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, who also was warmly welcomed in Pakistan, had pledged investment deals worth $ 20 billion during his Islamabad visit.

Modi said that India and Saudi Arabia had agreed to to strengthen cooperation on counter-terrorism, naval and cyber security.

As both leaders hailed deepening ties, they also sounded an optimistic note on building business and trade ties. The Saudi Crown Prince, who came to New Delhi with a large business delegation, said that Riyadh had invested $44 billion in India since 2016. He said that there were opportunities for investment of $ 100 billion in India in areas such as energy, agriculture and technology.

Two-way trade totaled over $ 27 billion last year. Saudi Arabia is a top supplier of oil to India, which is one of the world’s largest oil importers and provides about one fifth of its crude.

India, saudi arabia, terrorism
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, center left, and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, center right, witness the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Petroleum, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Feb. 17, 2019. VOA

The two countries signed five agreements in the areas of investment, tourism, housing and communications.

Prince Salman said that his visit to India will improve centuries-old ties between the countries, which he said are “in our DNA.” Ties between the two countries have been on an upswing since Modi visited Riyadh in 2016 as part of efforts to strengthen ties with Middle East countries.

ALSO READ: Saudi, India Admit of Putting Pressure on Countries Supporting Terrorism

The Saudi crown prince is on his first major overseas tour since the storm over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. He is expected to visit China after India. (VOA)