The U.S. military dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on an ISIS tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, a U.S. defense official confirmed to Fox News.
The GBU-43B, a 21,000-pound conventional bomb, was deployed in Nangarhar Province.
The MOAB — Massive Ordnance Air Blast — is also known as the “Mother Of All bombs.” It was first tested in 2003, but hadn’t been used in combat before Thursday.
President Trump told media Thursday afternoon that “this was another successful mission” and he gave the military total authorization.
The MOAB is so massive it had to be dropped out of the back of a U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo plane.
“We kicked it out the back door,” one U.S. official told Fox News.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 13, 2017
For comparison to the 21,000-pound MOAB, each Tomahawk cruise missile launched at a Syrian military air base last week was 1,000-pounds each.
“As [ISIS’] 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].”
The MOAB is specifically designed for use in missions such as Thursday’s. 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.
The strike came just days after a Green Beret was killed fighting ISIS in Nangarhar, however, a U.S. defense official told Fox News the bombing had nothing to do with that casualty.
“It was the right weapon for the right target, and not in retaliation,” the official said.
Fox News‘ Martin Hinton contributed to this report.
Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews