Pentagon: US will still be 'robust' in Middle East

The Pentagon insists although U.S. troops are exiting Afghanistan, the U.S. commitment to the region is not wavering. (May 24)

Video Transcript

JOHN KIRBY: Just because we are removing our troops and ending our military mission in Afghanistan doesn't mean that we're walking away from the region. Nothing could be further from the truth. There's still going to be a robust United States presence in the Middle East, in the Central Command area of responsibility.

I think what General McKenzie was referring to is just that we need to be aware of the potential for other nation states, with our absence from Afghanistan, what kind of actions they might take. But there's absolutely going to be no diminution of our commitment to our allies and partners in the region.

As the retrograde withdrawal continues and the capabilities in Afghanistan get progressively smaller, I would expect and you should expect that the way we package the information and how much we give is also going to change too, again, to make sure that we're not putting anybody in more harm's way than they already are.

Without speaking to General McKenzie's conversation specifically, we remain committed to coalition efforts against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. We still have troops in both places that are dedicated to that mission. We still have partners in the coalition that are dedicated to that mission, and nothing's changed about it.