The United States dropped its largest non-nuclear explosive for the first time Thursday (April 13), targeting ISIS fighters in eastern Afghanistan, according to the White House.
The U.S. Air Force unloaded a GBU-43 on a Nangarhar Province network of caves and tunnels being used by ISIS fighters. The explosive weighs a staggering 21,600 pounds and is commonly referred to as the “Mother of all Bombs.”
There were no immediate reports of deaths, injuries or the extent of the damage.
President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that he was “very, very proud” and called the attack a “really another successful job. We’re very, very proud of our military.”
While Trump said he gave the military “total authorization,” he refused to explicitly confirm whether or not he signed off on the attack.
The unprecedented strike comes after the death of a Green Beret soldier in Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar, of 7th Special Forces Group, was killed Saturday (April 8) in a firefight against Islamic State extremists in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the MOAB is “a large, powerful and accurately delivered weapon” and the nation’s intention was to wipe out the underground spaces where ISIS extremists move freely and could easily target the American military.
“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,” Spicer said. “The United States took all precautions necessary to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage as a result of the operation.”
The commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan said the attack was imperative, given that ISIS-K continues to grow in numbers and strength.
“This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K,” Gen. John W. Nicholson said in a statement.
“If you look at what’s happened over the last eight weeks and compare that, really, to what’s happened over the last eight years, you’ll see there’s a tremendous difference, tremendous difference” he said.
During a November 2015 campaign rally in Fort Dodge, Iowa, then-President elect Trump told the roaring crowd that he’d “bomb the [expletive] out of” terrorists.
“They have some in Syria, some in Iraq. I would bomb the [expletive] out of them,’ Trump told the large crowd. “I would just bomb those suckers. That’s right. I’d blow up the pipes. … I’d blow up every single inch. There would be nothing left.”