(Rudaw) – US forces have been authorized to fight members of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Afghanistan as a threat to the United States.

This decision comes after the US State Dept. designated ISIS-K (ISIS-Khorasan), in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a terrorist organization.

Previously the US army would have engaged with ISIS militarily only if the group posed a threat to the US, according to CNN, but they can now pursue the militants as part of their counterterrorism mission in the region.

“ISIS-K already is believed to be responsible for suicide and small-arms attacks and kidnappings, targeting civilians and Afghan government officials,” CNN reported.

The designation of the group as a terrorist organization means the US also prohibits any cooperation with or supply of material or resources to the group.

ISIS-K was formed January last year by a group of militants who defected from the Tehrik-e Taliban and they pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

CNN quoted Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, as saying that the White House should have changed the rules of engagement earlier.