The head of U.S. Central Command declined to say whether the military will cease airstrikes against the Taliban after the previously announced end date for such responses.
Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the top general overseeing operations in Afghanistan, told reporters on Sunday that “logistical support” would continue past the deadline, though he added, “I’m just not going to be able to comment about the future of U.S. airstrikes after [the] Aug. 31” deadline, according to the New York Times.
“For the days and weeks ahead, we will continue with our airstrikes in support of our Afghan partners, and that’s all I’ll be able to give you,” he said. “We’re taking airstrikes as we need to take them. We’re still carrying them out. I think we’re having [a] good effect in support of Afghan forces that are engaged in close fighting with the Taliban.”
While the Taliban has made recent gains in Afghanistan, McKenzie pointed to the Afghans’ air force as a possible advantage to hit back.
“I believe that the singular advantage the government of Afghanistan has right now in the fight they're in is their Air Force. So we will do everything in our power to keep that Air Force effective flying and in support of their forces,” McKenzie said. “We spent a lot of time training them. Now is their moment, now is the time for that very stern test that I noted earlier they're going to face. I think they have the resources and the capability to actually conduct that fight and win it.”
Last week, Afghan member of parliament Haji Ajmal Rahmani said Afghan Air Force pilots have run out of laser-guided weaponry due to the sudden loss of support from the United States and NATO after President Joe Biden decided to exit Afghanistan.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently said the Afghan government needs to do what “they can [to] slow the momentum” of the Taliban’s encroachment and “then be able to put themselves in a position where they can retake … some of the ground that they’ve lost.”
Washington Examiner Videos
Original Author: Mike Brest