23:02 GMT +326 September 2017
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    US troop stands guard in front of a line of jet fighter aircraft at the US-led coalition's Bagram Air Base north of Kabul (file photo)

    US Military Allowed to Strike Daesh Affiliate in Afghanistan

    © AFP 2017/ SHAH Marai
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    The US military has been given permission to target Daesh (Islamic State/ISIL) fighters not only in Syria and Iraq, where the militants have established a large occupying presence, but also in Afghanistan, where an affiliate of the violent extremist group has surfaced.

    The White House authorized the Pentagon Wednesday to conduct offensive operations against “Khorasan Province,” a Daesh-associated group located in Afghanistan/Pakistan region.

    A picture released by the US Marines shows Marines from 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment (3/2) and Iraqi Special Forces patrolling a street in the city of Karabilah, near Iraq's northwestern border with Syria (file)
    © AFP 2017/ SSGT JASON D. BECKSTAND / USMC
    The group, also known as ISIL-K in official documents, has been listed by the US State Department as a foreign terrorist organization.

    With the designation of terrorist, ISIL-K cannot officially receive support, including money transfers and weapon supplies, from any source, and its members can be targeted at any time by US military forces.

    Speaking on the authorization to use military force, US Defense ministry spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said the regional offensive stance had been adjusted recently but did not provide further information.

    "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," Davis stated, noting that American forces have already conducted “some” strikes on extremist group positions.

    Notorious US hawk John McCain, the Republican senator from Arizona, praised the move, suggesting that, as of the beginning of the second year of the US anti-Daesh military campaign in the Middle East, the Obama administration "seems to be waking up” to an emerging terrorist threat.

    ISIL-K is said to have appeared a year ago, comprised primarily of former Afghan and Pakistani Taliban members. According to estimates, its has between 1,000 and 3,000 members. In Afghanistan those members are largely concentrated in the Nangarhar and Kunar provinces.

    The group was recognized by the infamous Daesh leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as an offshoot January 2015. Since that time it has carried out several terrorist attacks in the region, killing civilians in two nations as well as troops of Afghani government forces.

    Prior the US designation of ISIL-K as terrorist, American servicemen could use weapons against the group only in self-defense.

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    Tags:
    U.S. Department of State, Daesh, Obama administration, Taliban, White House, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, John McCain, Barack Obama, Afghanistan, United States, Washington, Pakistan
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