US drops ''mother of all bombs'' for first time in Afghanistan – Watch video
US President Donald Trump hailed the mission in Achin district as "very, very successful".
Washington: The United States sent shock waves across the world on Thursday when it dropped a massive GBU-43 bomb, the largest non-nuclear bomb it has ever used in combat, in eastern Afghanistan against a series of caves used by Islamic State militants.
It was the first time the United States has used this size of a bomb in a conflict. It was dropped from an MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, close to the border with Pakistan, Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said.
Also known as the "mother of all bombs," the GBU-43 is a 21,600 pound (9,797 kg) GPS-guided munition and was first tested in March 2003, just days before the start of the Iraq war.
The US Central Command's official Twitter handle has tweeted a video showing a mushroom cloud rising over the rugged terrain.
Watch it here:
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) April 14, 2017
"As a result of the bombing, key Daesh (IS) hideouts were destroyed and 36 IS fighters were killed," the Afghan Defence Ministry said today, adding that the bombing was carried out in coordination with local military forces.
It comes only a week after US President Donald Trump ordered missile strikes against Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack, and as China warned of the potential for conflict amid rising US tensions with North Korea.
Trump hailed the mission in Achin district as "very, very successful".
The huge bomb, delivered via an MC-130 transport plane, has a blast yield equivalent to 11 tons of TNT. It was originally designed as much to intimidate foes as to clear broad areas.
Thursday`s explosion reverberated for miles and engulfed the remote area in towering flames, destroying what officials called a network of underground IS tunnels and caves that had been mined against conventional ground attacks.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the bomb was used at around 7 pm local time and described the device as "a large, powerful and accurately delivered weapon".
The bombardment took place amid rising global tensions as the US military steps up raids against global jihadist groups.
US officials say intelligence suggests Islamic State is based overwhelmingly in Nangarhar and neighboring Kunar province.
(With Agency inputs)