Trump lauds 'successful' bombing in Afghanistan

Trump lauds 'successful' bombing in Afghanistan
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President Trump on Thursday lauded the bombing of ISIS targets in Afghanistan with one of the United States’ most powerful weapons but declined to say whether he authorized the strike.

“We have [an] incredible military. We are very proud of them and this was another very, very successful mission,” Trump told reporters after a meeting with first responders at the White House. 

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When asked if he personally signed off on the use of the powerful weapon, Trump responded, “Everybody knows exactly what happened.”

“We have the greatest military in the world and they’ve done a job as usual, so we have given them total authorization. And that’s what they’re doing,” the president said. 

He also criticized former President Obama’s approach to the fight against ISIS in Afghanistan. 

“If you look at what’s happened over the last eight weeks and compare that to what’s really happened over the last eight years, you’ll see there is a tremendous difference,” he said. 

Earlier Thursday, U.S. forces dropped a GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB) on an Afghan tunnel complex used by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The MOAB, known informally as the “Mother of All Bombs,” is the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal and is the most powerful bomb the U.S. has used in Afghanistan. 

On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to take the fight to ISIS, memorably saying he would "bomb the shit" out of them if he were elected.

But the use of the weapon raised questions, such as why the military thought it necessary to drop it on this complex, whether Trump personally approved its use and if it was meant to send a message to other adversaries, such as North Korea. 

“I don’t know if this sends a message. It doesn’t make any difference if it does or not. North Korea’s a problem, it will be taken care of,” the president told reporters. 

He went on to praise Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “terrific person” and a “very special man” and expressed confidence he would confront Pyongyang over its nuclear program. 

“So we’ll see how it goes. I think he’s going to try very hard,” he said. 

Ellen Mitchell contributed.