The US and many of its NATO allies plan to be out of Afghanistan by early-to-mid July, according to the NYT.
This is based on anonymous sources, and various unclearly defined statements.
According to the outlet, planeloads of equipment and troops are flown out of the country, are leaving US officials with many issues that they had though would have much more time to figure out.
But the US plans to leave the Central Asian country well before US President Joe Biden’s September 11th deadline.
“The Pentagon still has not determined how it will combat terrorist threats like Al Qaeda from afar after American troops leave. Nor have top Defense Department officials secured agreement from allies about repositioning American troops in other nearby countries. And administration officials are still grappling with the thorny question of whether American warplanes — most likely armed Reaper drones — will provide air support to Afghan forces to help prevent the country’s cities from falling to the Taliban.”
This is based on a statement by Michèle A. Flournoy, a former under secretary for defense under President Barack Obama. She holds no official position right now
“Withdrawing forces is actually a really delicate kind of operation that has risks associated with it,” said Michèle A. Flournoy. “There’s a lot they have to work through before the last person steps on the plane — especially when you have allies on the ground who are going to inherit what we are leaving behind.”
The Pentagon wanted to avoid what officials said could be a nightmare scenario: a combat-related death in Afghanistan after the president had announced that American troops were withdrawing.
Such a loss could prompt a public outcry over why American troops were being put at risk for a lost cause, officials said.
This is the sense of urgency that the NYT is explaining, citing the unnamed officials.
The NYT’s story is “based on interviews with more than a dozen American, European and Afghan officials, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss military planning.”
Publicly, administration officials are insisting that the Afghan government can still hang on after American troops leave.
“It’s not a foregone conclusion, in my professional military estimate, that the Taliban automatically win and Kabul falls,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said earlier in May. “There’s a significant military capability in the Afghan government. And we have to see how this plays out.”
Unnamed U.S. military officials believe the United States will devote a significant number of reconnaissance aircraft to continue to help the Afghan forces but will limit airstrikes to “counterterrorism operations” only, a loose description that has been used in the past to justify a variety of actions.
Withdrawal is ramping up, if the NYT’s report based on nothing concrete is to be trusted, and it likely is on its way of being propagated further in MSM.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- U.S. Looks To Uzbekistan And Tajikistan For Troops Departing Afghanistan
- Military Situation In Afghanistan On May 25, 2021 (Map Update)