KABUL (Pajhwok): US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday the US military is already performing so-called over-the-horizon operations, undertaken from outside the nation, as it is currently withdrawing from Afghanistan, according to a media report.
Speaking at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Austin refused to confirm a claim in Wednesday’s The New York Times report that the Pentagon is considering providing military air support to Afghan forces if Kabul or another major city falls to the Taliban after US soldiers leave.
Instead, the Defense Secretary noted that capabilities such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) have already begun to be transported into Afghanistan from outside the nation during the ongoing pullout.
The United States currently has no basing agreements with Afghanistan’s neighbors, and various geopolitical factors, such as the countries’ ties to Russia, could prove difficult to make such arrangements.
As all US military personnel leave Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, in accordance with President Biden’s decision, US officials have insisted that the military will be able to counter terrorism threats via over-the-horizon operations, but the exact details on how such operations will be carried out and where those troops could be stationed are still reportedly being worked out.