Officials told NBC News Thursday that the Obama administration is considering a plan to allow the U.S. military to strike more targets with fewer restrictions in Afghanistan.
Strikes may now only be carried out in self-defense to protect Afghan forces believed to be in danger, or to target al-Qaida and ISIS. But active discussions are underway to give forces the authority to strike Taliban fighters simply for being part of the Taliban, according to a senior U.S. official.
The military has been advocating to expand the mandate, saying the Taliban has made advances in the last year. Striking Taliban assets can help Afghan forces take back territory, according to the official.
The discussion is related to the pending decision on how many troops the Obama administration will keep in the country after 2016. There are 9,800 U.S. troops there, but that should drop to 5,500 by the end of the year.