(CNSNews.com) - At a news conference in Afghanistan early Friday morning, Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said the U.S. military coordinated yesterday's historic bomb attack on ISIS with the government of Afghanistan.
"The enemy uses tunnels and minefields to move around the battlefield and protect themselves from attacks from Afghan and U.S. forces," Nicholson said. "This was the right weapon against the right target."
Nicholson assured the Afghan people that the United States takes "every possible precaution" to prevent civilian casualties: "We have persistent surveillance over the area before, during and after the operation, and now we have Afghan and U.S. forces on the site and see no evidence of civilian casualties -- nor have there been any reports of civilian casualties."
The Afghanistan Ministry of Defense said 36 ISIS fighters were killed when the 21,600-pound bomb -- the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat -- landed on their remote network of caves and tunnels, all of which were destroyed.
The bomb fell at 7:30 p.m. local time Thursday in eastern Nangarhar province, near the Pakistan border.
People living in the area described an earsplitting blast, the Associated Press reported.
The bomb, known officially as a GBU-43B, or massive ordnance air blast weapon, unleashes 11 tons of explosives.
At the White House on Thursday, President Trump hailed "another successful job" by the U.S. military.
"What I do is, I authorize my military. We have the greatest military, and they've done a job, as usual, and so we have given them total authorization. And that's what they're doing.
"If you look at what's happened over the last eight weeks and compare that to...what's happened over the last eight years, you'll see there's a tremendous difference -- tremendous difference, Trump said.
At his Friday news conference, Gen. Nicholson took some time to describe the brutality of the enemy that now has hundreds of fighters in Afghanistan:
"Since they arrived in southern Nangarhar, ISIS-K (the military's term for ISIS in Afghanistan) has dragged elders out of their homes and beheaded them in front of their families," Nicholson. He said ISIS has murdered men and boys, kidnapped wives and daughters, and killed or wounded hundreds of Afghan civilians.
"They have sent suicide bombers into mosques and murdered them at their prayers. And just last month, they shot and stabbed hospital patients lying in their beds.
"They are animals," Nicholson said.
He said the Afghan army, and specifically their commandos, are leading the fight against ISIS. "They're doing it on behalf of the people of Afghanistan, and indeed, they're doing it on behalf of all of us."
He said the U.S. is "united" with the Afghan government in preventing terrorists from establishing safe havens in Afghanistan.
“The Afghan army, and specifically their commandos, are leading this fight against these barbaric terrorists, they're doing it on behalf of the people of Afghanistan, and indeed, they're doing it on behalf of all of us,” the general said.
“The United States is committed to Afghanistan in this fight. We are united with the Afghan government to prevent terrorists from establishing safe havens in Afghanistan.”