The US military has bombed another target in the Middle East, this time around, on ISIS targets in Afghanistan.
Officials described the bomb as America’s most powerful non-nuclear bomb, saying it is the first time this type of weapon has been used in battle
A GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), nicknamed the “mother of all bombs,” was dropped at 7:32 p.m. local time Thursday, according to four US military officials with direct knowledge of the mission. A MOAB is a 30-foot-long, 21,600-pound, GPS-guided munition.
According to CNN, President Donald Trump called it “another successful job” later Thursday.
The bomb was dropped by an MC-130 aircraft, stationed in Afghanistan and operated by Air Force Special Operations Command, Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump told CNN.
Officials said the target was an ISIS cave and tunnel complex and personnel in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province.
“The United States takes the fight against ISIS very seriously and in order to defeat the group we must deny them operational space, which we did,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said later Thursday. The strike “targeted a system of tunnels and cave that ISIS fighters use to move around freely.”
Afghanistan’s ambassador to the US, Hamdullah Mohib, told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin that the bomb was dropped after fighting had intensified over the last week between US Special Forces and Afghan troops against ISIS.
The US and Afghan forces were unable to advance because ISIS had mined the area with explosives, so the bomb was dropped to clear the tunnels, Mohib said.
Trump declined to say whether he personally signed off on the strike, but did comment, “Everybody knows exactly what happens. So, what I do is I authorize our military.”
He continued, “We have given them total authorization and that’s what they’re doing.”
The President has granted military commanders broader latitude to act independently on several battlefields where US forces are involved, which Trump touted as making a “tremendous difference” in the fight against ISIS.