President Trump has pledged to ramp up the pressure on ISIS, though the Pentagon has said it hasn't changed the basic process for approving airstrikes, which it says is rigorous. USA officials have said they believe the movement has only 700 fighters but Afghan officials estimate it has about 1500.
The Trump administration made another high-profile show of force today, this time in Afghanistan, by dropping a 21,600-pound bomb on an ISIS cave-and-tunnel complex in Nangarhar province. It was not immediately clear how much damage the bomb did, how many militants were killed, or whether any civilians were killed.
The president has granted military commanders broader control to authorize anti-terrorism operations as they intensify the fight against the Islamic State. "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 number of civilian casualties reported in USA -led strikes in Iraq and Syria has increased since Trump took office, and March was the deadliest month for civilians ever recorded by Airwars, a group that tracks bombings.
"We are very very proud of our military".
"If you look at what's happened over the last eight weeks and compare that, really, with what's happened over the last eight years, you'll see there's a tremendous difference", he told reporters at the White House.
"We will be substantially upgrading all of our military, all of our military, offensive, defensive, everything, bigger and better and stronger than ever before", he said.
Republican hawks were quick to voice their support for the strike Thursday. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican. At the group's height in Afghanistan, it had more than 3,000 fighters, according to the Pentagon.
Again lamenting the war's expense, in 2013, he urged the U.S. to stop "wast [ing] billions" in Afghanistan, and instead use the money to "rebuild the United States of America". Authority was also sought from General Joseph Votel, commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM).
An Afghan National Army (ANA) official, who did not want to be named, was quoted by TOLONews as saying that they were not aware of the size of the bomb but that the United States had been using different types of weapons against the IS and other militants for the past few months.
Officials at the Afghan Defense Ministry said they were first alerted to Thursday's airstrike through news reports.
The MOAB has never previously been used in combat. The target set has also been expanded to include targets buried under softer surfaces, like caves or tunnels.
The MOAB weighs about 22,000 pounds (10,000 kg) and is the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever designed.
The MOAB might be the largest United States non-nuke, but the Russians - never one to lose a weaponry willy-waving competition - have shown off a munition four times as large, dubbed the Father of All Bombs.
"The #MOAB explosive yield is 0.011 kilotons, typical nuclear yield is 10-180 kilotons - the U.S. alone possesses over 7000 nuclear weapons", he tweeted. He said IS has been using improvised explosive devices, bunkers and tunnels to strengthen its defenses.
ISIS-K refers to ISIS-Khorasan, the terror group's affiliate in Afghanistan.
"Heavy casualties have been inflicted on the enemy", Murtazawi said on Facebook, ruling out the possibility of civilian casualties.