U.S. President Donald Trump would not say if he had personally signed off on the usage of the military's most powerful non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan on Thursday, saying only that the military has "total authorization."
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"Everybody knows exactly what happened. What I do is I authorize my military. We have the greatest military in the world and they’ve done a job as usual. We have given them total authorization and that’s what they’re doing and frankly that’s why they’ve been so successful lately," the president said in a response to a question on the matter during a meeting with the press in the White House.
The United States dropped a massive GBU-43 bomb, known as the "Mother of All Bombs," in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, targeting a series of caves used by ISIS militants, the military said.
It was the first time the United States has used this size of bomb in combat. It 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.
According to CNN, Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, authorized the use of the MOAB and the White House was informed in advance of the strike.
Trump called the bombing "another very, very successful mission."
"If you look at what’s happened over the last eight weeks and compare that really to what’s happened over the past eight years, you’ll see there’s a tremendous difference, tremendous difference. So we have incredible leaders in the military, and we have incredible military. We are very proud of them," Trump said.
Trump brushed aside a question whether the strike sends a message to North Korea. “I don’t know if this sends a message, it doesn’t make any difference if it does or not. North Korea is a problem, the problem will be taken care of," Trump said.
A U.S. navy aircraft carrier is heading toward the Korean Peninsula as Pyongyang prepares for the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il Sung this weekend. And with ongoing wargames of the U.S. and South Korea, the North has intensified rhetoric warning it would retaliate strongly against any aggression.