Pentagon

From Afghanistan to Syria: Trump's major military operations in his first 100 days

President makes first remarks since MOAB bombing in Afghanistan

 

The United States military dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on an ISIS tunnel complex in Afghanistan on Thursday, the latest overseas military operation under President Donald Trump.

The president has authorized three major military missions since he took office in January.

Jan. 29: Yemen

On Jan. 29, just over a week after Trump was sworn in, United States Special Forces raided a suspected Al-Qaeda compound in Yemen to collect information on potential terror attacks against the U.S. and its allies.

Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens was killed -- the first U.S. combat death under Trump. Three other troops were injured. 

At least 23 civilians, including women and children, were killed in the operation. 

The White House said that the Obama administration had planned the raid, but never executed it because it would have escalated U.S. involvement in the war-torn Arab country.

The raid drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, most notably Republican Sen. John McCain, who said in a statement that he “would not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success.”

Trump fired back on Twitter, saying McCain's comment "only emboldens the enemy." 

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted the mission "yielded a substantial amount of very important intel and resources that helped save American lives and other lives." 

April 7: Syria

At 8:45 p.m. ET on April 6 (3:45 a.m. local time April 7), the U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in retaliation for the suspected chemical weapons attack that killed more than 80 civilians. 

Aircraft and support infrastructure and equipment at the airbase in Shayrat, located outside of Homs, were "severly damaged." 

The goal of the airstrikes was to reduce "the Syrian government's ability to deliver chemical weapons," Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said. 

Much of the international community rallied behind Trump's decision, but a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the strikes dealt "a significant blow" to relations between Moscow and Washington.

Tillerson held a news conference in Moscow on Wednesday where he said he told Putin that U.S.-Russia relations hit a “low point.” 

April 13: Afghanistan

The latest military operation came on Thursday when the U.S. dropped a 21,000-pound bomb in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan. 

The MOAB -- Massive Ordinance Air Blast -- struck an Islamic State tunnel complex. Thirty-six Islamic State fighters died and no civilians were injured, Afghanistan officials said Friday. 

The Ministry of Defense said in a statement that several Islamic State caves and ammunition caches were destroyed. The bomb's "earsplitting blast" terrified villagers living near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. 

The MOAB, also known as "the Mother of All Bombs," was the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat by the U.S. military. Adam Stump, a Pentagon spokesman, said the bomb was dropped from a U.S. MC-130 special operations transport, and had been brought to Afghanistan "some time ago" for potential use.

"As [ISIS'] losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers, and tunnels to thicken their defense," Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement. "This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against [ISIS]."

What's next?

Trump has not indicated further military action, though he did issue a warning to North Korea on Thursday, calling it a "problem" country that "will be taken care of." 

Trump made the comments after he was asked about the U.S. military's decision to drop the largest non-nuclear weapon.

When asked whether dropping the bomb sends a message to North Korea as it continues to pursue nuclear and other weapons, Trump said it makes no difference.

"North Korea is a problem, the problem will be taken care of," Trump said. 

North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol said Friday Pyongyang is ready to launch a preemptive strike if the U.S. shows any sign of "reckless" military aggression. 

The foreign minister added that North Korea will keep building up its nuclear arsenal in "quality and quantity," and said the country is ready to go to war if that is what Trump wants.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.