The Obama administration is expanding it’s war against The Islamic State. A defense official, speaking anonymously to the Washington Post, reported that the US military will now be targeting The Islamic State affiliate group in Afghanistan.
The US military is currently fighting against The Taliban and waging a drone war against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. The new expansion of force is an air war to be fought against ISIS in Afghanistan.
These developments are detrimental to US interests in the region. However, the Obama Administration must prove the president has power to take action.
The mostly likely steps Obama can take to justify the increased military operations are: the Authorization for Use of Military Force 2001 (AUMF) or Authorization for Use of Military Force 2002. The president is not granted the power to start an offensive war in another country without congressional approval.
The AUMF passed in 2001 is mostly likely course Obama will take to empower himself to start the new war. In the past, the Obama Administration has claimed they have the power to fight ISIS groups using this legislation.
Many have disagreed with this claim. They argue the text of the AUMF from 2001 does not apply to ISIS. The plain text of the AMUF from 2001 reads,
The President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.
The group that planned the 9/11 attacks is Al-Qaeda and The Taliban is the group that harbored Osama Bin Laden. ISIS was not involved in 9/11 attacks.
If Obama does use the AUMF from 2001, then he could face legal challenges because the text of the AUMF does not seem to give him the power to bomb ISIS. He would have to stretch some legal definitions and expand the power of the president.
Obama could also assert the AUMF passed in 2002 granted him the power to fight ISIS in Afghanistan. Obama has used this to bomb The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The AUMF from 2002 gave President Bush the power to start the Iraq War; it only applies to Iraq. The AUMF 2002 does not even mention Afghanistan.