Report: Pentagon considering use of warplanes, drones if Afghan forces are in crisis

Kabul. Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP via Getty Images

With U.S. troops leaving Afghanistan, the Pentagon is considering the possibility of having to intervene militarily should Kabul or another major city find itself in danger of falling to the Taliban, senior officials told The New York Times on Wednesday.

This could involve using warplanes or drones to assist Afghan security forces, the officials said. The discussions are ongoing, and include what to do should the Afghan military become overwhelmed, but no decisions have been made yet.

In April, President Biden ordered a full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, saying, "While we will not stay involved in Afghanistan militarily, our diplomatic and humanitarian work will continue." If the U.S. does offer air support, it will be difficult to sustain, as the bases in Afghanistan have all been closed or will be soon. Any airstrikes would likely have to be launched from bases in the Persian Gulf, the Times reports.

Many rural areas of Afghanistan are already under Taliban control, and it is unlikely the U.S. will provide any future military support to those regions. Senior officials told the Times the Pentagon, remembering the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq, is also working out how U.S. troops will carry out counterterrorism missions against Al Qaeda and other militant groups in Afghanistan that may attack American interests. Read more at The New York Times.