The U.S. military has dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in eastern Afghanistan in an area that is known to be populated with ISIS militants.
The GBU-43B, a 22,000-pound conventional bomb, nicknamed “Mother Of All Bombs,” was dropped at 7 p.m. local time in Nangarhar Province.
The bomb was first tested in 2003 but has never been used before in combat.
The bomb was dropped by an MC-130 aircraft on ISIS tunnels and fighters in the Achin district.
“As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense,” Gen. John Nicholson, Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement. “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K.”
“We targeted a system of tunnels and caves that ISIS fighters used to move around freely making it easier for them to target U.S. military advisers and Afghan forces in the area,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a news conference. “The United States takes the fight against ISIS very seriously and in order to defeat the group we must deny them operational space.”
Spicer added that the United States took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties and collateral damage.
The bombing comes just days after a Special Forces soldier was killed in Nangarhar Province. Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar, of 7th Special Forces Group, was killed over the weekend by small arms fire while his unit was conducting counter-ISIS operations in Afghanistan.