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Story highlights

The MOAB is known as the 'mother of all bombs'

The target was ISIS tunnels and personnel

Washington CNN —  

The US military dropped America’s most powerful non-nuclear bomb on ISIS targets in Afghanistan Thursday, the first time this type of weapon has been used in battle, according to US officials.

A GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), nicknamed the “mother of all bombs,” was dropped at 7:32 p.m. local time, according to four US military officials with direct knowledge of the mission. A MOAB is a 30-foot-long, 21,600-pound, GPS-guided munition.

President Donald Trump called it “another successful job” later Thursday.

The bomb was dropped by an MC-130 aircraft, stationed in Afghanistan and operated by Air Force Special Operations Command, Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump told CNN.

Officials said the target was an ISIS cave and tunnel complex and personnel in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province, a remote area in the country’s east which borders Pakistan.]

“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,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said later Thursday. The strike “targeted a system of tunnels and cave that ISIS fighters use to move around freely.”

Afghanistan’s ambassador to the US, Hamdullah Mohib, told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin that the bomb was dropped after fighting had intensified over the last week between US Special Forces and Afghan troops against ISIS.

The US and Afghan forces were unable to advance because ISIS had mined the area with explosives, so the bomb was dropped to clear the tunnels, Mohib said.

Trump declined to say whether he personally signed off on the strike, but did comment, “Everybody knows exactly what happens. So, what I do is I authorize our military.”

He continued, “We have given them total authorization and that’s what they’re doing.”

Asked about Trump’s “total authorization” comments, a senior administration official declined to specify whether the President indeed ordered the strike in Afghanistan.

But the official said that in general, “We don’t approve every strike,” adding that, “This administration has moved further away” from dictating military strategy from the White House.

It’s a change both Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis wanted, the official said.

The President has granted military commanders broader latitude to act independently on several battlefields where US forces are involved, which Trump touted as making a “tremendous difference” in the fight against ISIS.

During the campaign, Trump vowed to eradicate ISIS, saying he would “bomb the s**t” out of the terror group, also known as ISIL.