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U.S. Drops Largest Nonnuclear Bomb In Eastern Afghanistan


Smoke rises after an air strike on Islamic State (IS) militants positions during an ongoing operation against the group in the Achin district of Nangarhar province on April 14.

The United States says its forces in Afghanistan have dropped a 9,800-kilogram bomb on a tunnel complex used by Islamic State militants in Afghanistan.

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), known as "the mother of all bombs," is the largest nonnuclear bomb ever used by the United States in a conflict.

In an April 13 statement, the U.S. military said the GBU-43/B bomb was dropped on an IS tunnel complex in Achin district, close to the border with Pakistan.

The Pentagon said it was the first-ever combat use of the GBU-43/B bomb.

The strike follows last week's death of a U.S. special forces soldier fighting IS militants in Nangarhar Province. It targeted a system of tunnels and caves that IS fighters use to “move around freely, making it easier for them to target U.S. military advisers and Afghan forces in the area," White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.

A Pentagon spokesman said the bomb was dropped from an MC-130 transport plane.

Afghanistan's Defense Ministry said on April 14 that the bomb killed 36 IS militants.

The strike follows last week's death of a U.S. special forces soldier fighting IS militants in Nangarhar Province.

It targeted a system of tunnels and caves that IS fighters use to “move around freely, making it easier for them to target U.S. military advisers and Afghan forces in the area," White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb

Spicer also said all necessary precautions were taken to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage.

U.S. President Donald Trump later told reporters that the bombing was “another very, very successful mission.”

He did not answer directly when asked if he had authorized the use of the bomb.

“Everyone knows exactly what happened. What I do is authorize my military. We have given them total authorization,” the U.S. president said.

When asked if the bomb had sent a message to North Korea, Trump said: “I don’t know if this sends a message, and it doesn't make any difference if it does or not.”

"North Korea is a problem, the problem will be taken care of," he also said.

He added that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would work together to resolve the North Korean crisis.

Trump has ordered the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier group to head to the Korean Peninsula in an attempt to deter Pyongyang's nuclear and long-range missile ambitions, which it is developing in defiance of UN resolutions and sanctions.

Trump had urged China to do more to curtail North Korea's nuclear program when he met with Xi last week in Florida.

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb was developed for use in the Iraq war -- at a reported cost of $16 million each -- and was first tested in 2003, but never used in action -- until April 13.

However, the MOAB is not the U.S. military's heaviest nonnuclear bomb. The Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP, is an even bigger bunker-buster bomb which weighs a colossal 13,600 kilograms.

With reporting by AP and AFP

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