The Obama administration has “significantly” increased its air strikes against the Islamic State branch in Afghanistan since the president granted commanders broader authority last month to target the jihadist group there, a U.S. military spokesman said on Thursday.
“We have significantly increased our pressure on Daesh in Afghanistan, particularly in the Nangarhar province. That has had an effect, but it’s not just U.S. airstrikes that are having an effect,” Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, a U.S. military spokesman, said in a briefing to Pentagon reporters Wednesday, using the Arabic acronym to refer to the Islamic State. “It’s Afghanistan – Afghan security forces that have been putting pressure on Daesh for sometime now. So it’s a combination of all of that that has Daesh relatively contained in the southern part of Nangarhar province.”
Late last month, President Obama granted the U.S. military legal authority to take offensive action against the ISIS branch in Afghanistan known as the Khorasan Province (ISIL-K), reports The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), citing unnamed senior Obama administration officials.
However, the American military still lacks the authority to strike Taliban terrorists, unless they attack first, a point made by Gen. John Campbell, the top commander of U.S. and international troops.