US military commanders have been given the authority to target Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Thursday, the first such order beyond Iraq and Syria, where the militants control parts of both countries.
The US State Department said last week that it had designated Islamic State's offshoot in Afghanistan, known as Islamic State-Khorasan, as a foreign terrorist organization.
US forces could previously strike Islamic State in Afghanistan but it was under more narrow circumstances, such as for protection of troops.
Senator John McCain of Arizona, a Republican who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the administration of President Barack Obama, a Democrat, "seems to be waking up to the fact that more than a year into the US military campaign, ISIL's reach is global and growing."
McCain told a hearing on Thursday that the authorization given by the White House was much needed and "many of us may be interested to know that we confined our attacks on ISIL to Iraq and Syria."