ISIS targets in Afghanistan have been bombed by the US military. This is America's most powerful non-nuclear bomb till date and according to the US officials, this is the first time such kind of weapon has been used.
As per the report by Fox news, a US defence official confirmed that military dropped the bomb on an ISIS tunnel in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday.
According to US military officials who are said to have direct knowledge of the mission said that a GBU-43/B Massive ordinance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB) was dropped at local time 7:32 pm. This bomb is nicknamed as "mother of all bombs" and it weighs 21,600 pounds and operates with GPS-guided munition.
An MC-130 aircraft was used to drop the bomb, operated by Air Force Special Operation Command which is stationed in Afghanistan. While talking to CNN, Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump gave these details.
According to officials, the target is said to be a cave and tunnel complex occupied by ISIS and in the Achin district of 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."
CNN reported that while talking to the officials in Nangarhar provincial government and Ministry of Interior, Afghanistan, that they have no such information as of now about the bomb drop by the US.
According to the sources, General John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan signed off on the use of the bomb. The damages are currently being assessed by the military. The commander of US Central Command, General Joseph gave granted authority to Nicholson to deploy the weapon.
"As ISIS-K's losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defence," Nicholson said in a statement after the strike.
"This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K," Nicholson added.
"US forces took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties with this strike. US Forces will continue offensive operations until ISIS-K is destroyed in Afghanistan," read the statement from US Forces Afghanistan.
It is not clear whether anyone is killed or not and what is the extent of the damage. The Pentagon is now reviewing options to bolster US allies Afghanistan and currently working a case about whether or not to deploy more trainers there.
ISIS activity in Afghanistan is primarily centred in the Achin district and a US Army Special Forces soldier died there on Saturday while fighting the terror group. Counterterrorism operations are regularly carried out by US troops against ISIS in the Nangarhar Province. Currently, almost 8,400 US troops are stationed in Afghanistan. The MOAB is a specially designed bomb for missions like this one. It was tested in 2003 for the first time but has never been used in combat until this time in Afghanistan.
A report from Fox News said, " It explodes in the air, which creates air pressure that can make tunnels and other structures collapse. It can be used at the start of an offensive to soften up the enemy, weakening both its infrastructure and morale."
"It was the right weapon for the right target, and not in retaliation," the official said.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said, "the US had used a large, powerful and accurately delivered weapon to disrupt the movements of militants in the country."
"Everybody knows exactly what happened and what I do is I authorise my military. We have the greatest military in the world and they've done their job as usual. So, we have given them total authorization," Trump said at the White House on Thursday after meeting with the first responders.
Hamid Karzai who was the President of Afghanistan for almost ten years strongly condemned the dropping of the largest non-nuclear bomb.