44 ISIS Militants, Four Key Leaders Killed as US Forces Bomb Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan

The United States bombed the caves and bunkers used by Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Nangarhar province in Afghanistan on Thursday, April 13. The bomb used was the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), the largest non-nuclear bomb that the U.S. government has ever used in combat.

REUTERS/Ammar AbdullaA civil defense member breathes through an oxygen mask, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria, April 4, 2017.

U.S. forces dropped the bomb from an MC-130 aircraft in the Achin district of the province, which is located near the border of Pakistan. The 21,600-pound, global positioning system-guided bomb was first tested just days before the start of the Iraq war in March 2003.

While it has already been 15 years since the U.S. government toppled the Taliban government, ISIS forces still remain in Afghanistan to claim territories. After the bombing on Thursday, the U.S. forces did not immediately determine how much damage the bomb had caused. However, it was later reported that at least 44 ISIS militants and four key leaders of the group were killed in the bombing.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said in a press briefing following the bombing, "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."

Last week, one member of the U.S. military was also killed in the same district after ISIS dropped a bomb while U.S. forces were conducting operations against ISIS.

According to Spicer, the United States takes the fight against ISIS seriously and their goal is to deny them operational space by bombing the caves and bunkers where they hide.

Spicer described the bomb as "a large, powerful and accurately delivered weapon." He also said that U.S. forces made it a point to take all the necessary precautions to make sure that civilian casualties and collateral damage would be prevented during their operations.