U.S. 'Mother of All Bombs' Killed 36 ISIS Militants, Afghanistan Says

The strike with the largest U.S. non-nuclear device targeted a network of caves and tunnels in eastern Afghanistan. Trump touted bombing as a 'very successful mission'

Achin district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan
Achin district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan

An American strike in Afghanistan with the largest non-nuclear device it has ever unleashed in combat, known as 'the mother of all bombs,' killed 36 Islamic State militants, the Afghan Defense Ministry said on Friday.

The attack on Thursday targeted a network of caves and tunnels used by ISIS in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, the U.S. military said.

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The claims have not been independently verified, but ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said no civilians were harmed. 

Archive footage: Testing the MOAB

"No civilian has been hurt and only the base which Daesh used to launch attacks in other parts of the province, was destroyed," Waziri said in a statement, using an Arabic term for Islamic State, which has established a small stronghold in eastern Afghanistan and launched deadly attacks on the capital, Kabul. 

President Donald Trump touted the bombing as evidence of a more muscular U.S. foreign policy since he took office in January after eight years of President Barack Obama. 

The 21,600 pound (9,797 kg) GBU-43, or Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, which has 11 tons of explosives, was dropped from a MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, close to the border with Pakistan, Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said. The MOAB costs $16 million per bomb and the U.S. military has reportedly spent $314 million on its production.

The GBU-43 is a GPS-guided munition and was first tested in March 2003. It is regarded as particularly effective against clusters of targets on or just underneath the ground. Other types of bombs can be more effective against deeper, hardened tunnels.

Trump described the bombing as a "very successful mission," but it was not immediately clear how much damage the device did.