Donald Trump pledged to wipe Islamic State off the face of the earth and many believe his mother of all bombs strike is the first sign of that deadly policy in action.
The US president unleashed the biggest non-nuclear device ever used in combat on one of the terror group’s deadly lairs in Afghanistan .
It signifies a major election promise U-turn after vowing to end military interventions around the world
Mr Trump hailed his devastating blitz on IS caves, tunnels and fighters a success. It came just a week after he ordered an attack on a Syrian airbase from where US officials claim dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a nerve gas attack on his people.
When asked if he directed the latest strike, he triumphantly declared: “Er, everybody knows exactly what happened … and what I do is I authorise my military. We have the greatest military in the world and they have done a job as usual. It was another successful event.
During the election, the property tycoon promised to “bomb the s***” out of IS, after claiming rival Hillary Clinton was a dangerous warmonger.
The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, nicknamed the “mother of all bombs” by the Pentagon, was dropped in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province from a Hercules aircraft.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer described it as “a large, powerful and accurately delivered weapon”.
He added: “The United States takes the fight against ISIS seriously and in order to defeat the group we must deny them operational space, which we did.”
Military officials were last night assessing the damage after having never used the nine-ton MOAB.
One said of the attack: “We kicked it out the back door.” It was claimed the device left a crater 300 metres wide. But there were no reports last night of deaths or casualties.
Commander of US forces in Afghanistan General John W. Nicholson said the intended target was ISIS Khurasan, the arm of Islamic State operating in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the surrounding region.
He added: “As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defence. This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K. US forces took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties with this strike. We will continue offensive operations until ISIS-K is destroyed in Afghanistan.”
The general had signed off on the use of the bomb, according to sources.
It was due to be first used in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom, but the Pentagon later decided Saddam Hussein’s forces provided too little resistance to justify its deployment.
Mr Trump’s son Eric warned his dad was not afraid to take further action against either IS, Assad or North Korea and will not allow “barbarians to act and take innocent lives”.
During a trip to one of his family’s golf courses in Doonbeg, Co Clare, he said of Jong-Un’s persistent testing of banned nuclear weapons: “I have nothing to do with the administration but if they [North Korea] pose a credible danger to western civilisation he will act.
“These are the most difficult decisions anybody has to make on the planet.”
Eric claimed images of dead children influenced his dad’s cruise missile blitz on the Syrian airbase. He added: “If you’re a human being …you watch those images and your heart cried for kids who are dying and burnt to death by poisoned gas.
“That’s not acceptable anywhere. People might call my father a person who wants to put his own country first but there was a red line, it has been repeatedly been violated. Kids were dying. Women were dying. Families were dying.”
And Eric reacted angrily to Vladimir Putin’s claim the US government invented the chemical weapons attack.
He said: “That’s the Russian propaganda machine. I’m proud of how my father acted.”
As he spoke, of US warships were steaming towards North Korea amid fears Jong-Un is planning another nuclear test.
As tensions rose, Japan warned it could be hit by Pyongyang’s missiles loaded with Sarin-gas if diplomatic talks fail.