WH: To Defeat ISIS, We Must Deny Them Operational Space

By Melanie Arter | April 13, 2017 | 5:27pm EDT
(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The White House said Thursday that in order to defeat ISIS, the U.S. must deny them operational space, adding that the U.S. military took all precautions necessary to prevent civilian casualties in its attack on ISIS fighters in Afghanistan using the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used, also referred to by Pentagon officials as the “mother of all bombs.”

“At around 7:00 p.m. local time in Afghanistan last night, the United States military used a GBU-43 weapon in Afghanistan. The GBU-43 is a large, powerful and accurately delivered weapon. 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 advisors and Afghan forces in the area,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

“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. The United States took all precautions necessary to prevent civilian casualties and collateral damage as a result of the operation. Any further details, I would refer you to the Department of Defense on that,” Spicer said.

“As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using [improvised bombs], bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense,” said Army Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan. “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K.”

ISIS-K refers to the Korasan group, which is based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. It’s mostly made up of former members of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban, according to the Defense Department.

“At 7:32 p.m. local time today, U.S. Forces Afghanistan conducted a strike on an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Khorasan tunnel complex in Achin district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, as part of ongoing efforts to defeat ISIS-K in Afghanistan,” a U.S. Forces Afghanistan news release stated.

“The strike used a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb dropped from a U.S. aircraft. The strike was designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and U.S. forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities,” the news release stated.

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