The new authorization allows American troops to engage and target ISIS in Afghanistan.
American military commanders have been given an authority to engage and target ISIS in Afghanistan – the Pentagon revealed on Thursday. This is the first order of its kind that allows US troops to fight the terrorist group beyond Iraq and Syria where it holds considerable chunks of territory.
Last week, the US Department of State said that in Afghanistan ISIS was designated a foreign terrorist organization. ISIS in Afghanistan is also known by its acronym Islamic State-Khorasan. American troops could target ISIS in Afghanistan before, but they had very limited scope like offering protection to units in battlefields.
Republican senator John McCain who is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, stated that the administration of the Democratic president Barack Obama was finally realizing that the presence of ISIS in Afghanistan made it clear that the extremist group had global reach and it was growing fast despite US military campaign in Iraq and Syria.
McCain also said during a hearing of the committee on Thursday that the authorization to target ISIS in Afghanistan, handed down by the White House to the military was very much needed since American strikes were previously confined to Syria and Iraq only.
ISIL is another name for the terrorist organization which boasts supporters all round the world. People affiliated with ISIS or supporting its ideas have carried out attacks in Europe and America including the November Paris attacks and the San Bernardino, California shooting in December last year.
Spokesman for the Pentagon, Captain Jeff Davis stated that an adjustment had been made to the authorization for American forces to engage ISIS in Afghanistan. However, he did not mention the date on which the said authorization was given. Capt. Davis said:
As part of this mission, we will take action against any terrorist group that poses a threat to U.S. interests or the homeland, including members of ISIL-Khorasan.”
He also pointed out that there had been some strikes against ISIS in Afghanistan during the past few days. The news of this authorization was first reported in the famous Wall Street Journal but there was no immediate response from the White House.
According to the Department of State, ISIS in Afghanistan or Islamic State – Khorasan was established in the month of January last year. It is based in the Afghanistan region and has former members of the Taliban.
American Army General John Campbell is leading the Western troops in Afghanistan. He revealed that the ISIS in Afghanistan has become very active in the Kunar and Nangarhar provinces where they are engaged in fighting the Taliban for the a few past months. It is also noted that ISIS in Afghanistan is establishing itself in and around the city of Jalalabad.
Many congressman had been calling for such an authorization for the past few months. They had also accused the US administration of deliberately ignoring the ISIS in Afghanistan and the threat it posed to the entire region.