According to a report by the US Air Force, the number is also higher than those being dropped in Iraq and Syria to target ISIS fighters, which also happens for the first time since the anti-ISIS campaign began in 2014.
While ISIS is being pushed underground in Iraq and Syria, the number of fighters pledging loyalty to the group appears to be growing in Afghanistan.
Last year, the U.S. dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat on an ISIS cave complex in eastern Nangarhar province. Since then, the militants have spread north and their numbers have grown from between 600 to 700 to over 1,000, according to U.S. officials.
U.S. and Afghan forces have killed 90 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan this year, the majority in northern Jowzjan province’s Darzab district, the U.S. military said. But the main threat in the U.S.’s longest war, now in its 17th year, remains the Taliban.
“Throughout March, U.S. airstrikes continued to degrade, disrupt and dismantle Taliban revenue sources and networks, and weaken the Islamic State-Khorasan group’s ability to conduct terrorist activities across Afghanistan,” the Air Force report said.
In February, U.S. officials announced they had begun shifting assets, such as MQ-9 Reaper drones and A-10C Thunderbolt IIs ground attack aircraft to Afghanistan, following success in Iraq and Syria, according to Stars and Stripes.