Above Photo: Gen. Kenneth McKenzie at a news conference in Kabul on Sunday. (Sajjad Hussain/Agence France-Presse / Getty Images)
Says US will continue to support Afghan partners with airstrikes
CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie is refusing all comment on whether the US will stop carrying out airstrikes in Afghanistan, saying he’s “concentrating on the here and now.”
The war in Afghanistan is meant to be effectively over, with the last US troops leaving by the end of August. McKenzie, however, suggests that the US intention to continue to support its partners means that they’ll continue to “offer” airstrikes to Afghanistan.
McKenzie didn’t want to admit to intentions to carry out more airstrikes, but did concede that the US has been stepping up airstrikes, and believes they’ve had a “good effect” in the fighting.
The admission that the US will keep carrying out strikes after August would be extremely negative diplomatically, and officials likely want to avoid addressing that aspects of the policy of continuing the war by simply refusing comment on what will happen after August. The truth isn’t hard to see, however.
The US doesn’t have basing rights in Afghanistan or anywhere adjacent, though officials have been clear all along that they have every intention to keep up military operations, somehow.