The Pentagon said on Thursday that the U.S. military has deployed more heavy bombers and fighter jets to protect U.S. and coalition forces that have withdrawn from Afghanistan. So far, the US and coalition forces have not been directly attacked.
“Less than one week in, the drawdown is going according to plan,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters.
Pentagon Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley said that to defend the departing troops, six B-52 long range bombers and 12 F-18 fighters have been ordered to supply contingency support.
He said that while the Taliban insurgents groups launch between 80 and 120 attacks every day against Afghan government targets, since the withdrawal began on May 1 “there have been no attacks against US and coalition forces.”
After the attack on September 11, 2001, nearly 20 years after the invasion of the country to remove the Taliban and hunt down Al Qaeda, last month US President Joe Biden ordered the final evacuation of 2,500 U.S. service personnel and 16,000 civilian contractors. Quotient.
Biden set a deadline for this year’s anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Austin and Millley emphasized that although the United States continues to work closely with the Afghan security forces, the relationship between the two countries will change with the withdrawal of troops.
Austin said that U.S. support will continue through funding and “horizon logistics,” which is military support for U.S. bases and ships hundreds of miles away.
Millley emphasized that with the widespread expectation that the Taliban might seize power from the government after the United States withdraws, the demise of the Afghan forces should not be used as a presumption.
“The Afghan National Security Forces and the Government of Afghanistan at this time remain cohesive,” Milley said. “The president of the United States intent is to support both.”
Milley added the United States is in ongoing talks with the Afghan government on how to keep its air force going to provide effective support to government troops on the ground.
The Afghan air force depends heavily on foreign technicians who are included in the 16,000 contractors that are being pulled out.
“A lot of that is going to be dependent on the security conditions ont he ground,” said Milley.
“The intent is to keep the Afghan air force in the air, and to provide them with continued maintenance support,” he said.