The U.S. dropped the largest, most powerful non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal on Afghanistan at 7 p.m. local time Thursday, four military officials told CNN.
U.S. forces deployed the GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb — an 11-ton weapon with a 1-mile blast radius — in the Nangarhar province, close to Pakistan's border. A suspected ISIS tunnel and cave complex was the intended target.
"The United States takes the fight against ISIS very seriously," Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a briefing Thursday. "And in order to defeat the group, we must deny them operational space, which we did."
This was the first time a GBU-43/B has been used in combat, as CNN pointed out. Developed during the Iraq war, the massive explosive is also known as the "mother of all bombs" (MOAB).
In a statement, the U.S. Department of Defense said the MOAB was "designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and U.S. Forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of (ISIS) fighters and facilities."
"As (ISIS') losses have mounted, they are using (improvised explosive devices), bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense," said Gen. John Nicholson, commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan. "This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against (ISIS)."
No casualties have been reported so far. The Department of Defense asserted that U.S. forces took "every precaution to avoid civilian casualties with this strike."