"It will feel like a nuclear weapon to anyone near the area," said Lt. Col. Rick Francona.
The U.S. military dropped its biggest non-nuclear bomb in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province in Afghanistan Thursday — in an area where the munition’s impact is likely to be felt by at least 95,000 people.
CNN first reported the strike after speaking to four U.S. military officials who had direct knowledge of the mission.
The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb or as it’s nicknamed, the "mother of all bombs" – MOAB, is a 21,600-pound, GPS-guided munition that is the world’s most powerful non-nuclear bomb.
@DavidWright_CNN Breaking: US military has dropped most powerful non-nuclear US bomb, MOAB, targeting ISIS in Nangarhar, Afghanistan -- first ever combat use
@DavidWright_CNN MOAB - also known as ‘Mother of all bombs" - a 21,600 lbs munition; dropped Thursday & US military currently assessing damage
It was dropped by an MC-130 aircraft that was stationed in Afghanistan and operated by Air Force Special Operations Command, Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump told CNN.
The target was allegedly an ISIS cave and tunnel complex.
"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 told press shortly after the munition was dropped. The strike "targeted a system of tunnels and cave that ISIS fighters use to move around freely."
The MOAB, which was developed during the Iraq War, has never before been used in the battlefield.
While the U.S. Forces Afghanistan claim that they took “every precaution to avoid civilian casualties”, and while it remains to be seen what the impact of the strike will be, retired Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona told CNN, "It will feel like a nuclear weapon to anyone near the area", implying that it will likely be grave.