WASHINGTON (CN) – U.S. forces in Afghanistan dropped “the mother of all bombs” on an ISIS tunnel system in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Thursday.
The U.S. dropped the military’s most powerful non-nuclear bomb – the GBU-43, a massive air ordinance weapon that contains 11 tons of explosives – in the Achin district in the Nangarhar province near the Pakistani border.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the U.S. military dropped the bomb around 7 p.m. local time.
“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,” he said during a press briefing.
“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,” Spicer added.
The Pentagon has not yet reported whether the bomb blast caused any civilian casualties, but Spicer said the U.S. took all precautions to avoid them.
According to a news release posted on the U.S. Central Command’s Twitter page, “the strike was designed to minimize risk to Afghan and U.S. forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities.”
The bomb is 30 feet long with a 40.5 inch diameter and has a mile-wide blast radius.
“As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defenses,” said Gen. John W. Nicholson, Cmdr. Of U.S. Forces, Afghanistan.
“This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K,” the press release said.
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a Courthouse News request for comment. Spicer described the GBU-43 as “a large, powerful and accurately delivered weapon.”
According to reporting from CBS News, today marks the first time the U.S. has used the bomb in combat.