Washington: President Biden had assured that the United States would not stop support for Afghanistan even if it withdraws its troops. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has just provided information that confirms it. Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Secretary of Defense Austin informed that the US had undertaken an over-the-horizon air operation in Afghanistan. The aircraft from US bases in the Middle East are being used for the purpose, Austin said. Furthermore, Defense Secretary Austin promised that terrorists plotting attacks on the United States would be targeted first.
A US news daily reported that the US would carry out airstrikes against the Taliban, advancing towards capital Kabul and other important cities. A US military official told the daily that they would seek permission for it from President Biden. The aircraft on US military bases in the Middle East would be used to make the airstrikes on the Taliban, the official said.
Austin was asked about the report at a hearing before the Armed Services Committee. Defense Secretary Austin declined to confirm the information directly. However, Austin did say the US intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) air operation in Afghanistan had already begun.
Defense Secretary Austin stated that “As the United States begins withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, it has simultaneously launched air operations in the country. The ISR operation is being carried out from the Gulf states. At the same time, they are also trying to cut down the distance of such long-range air operations from the Middle East to Afghanistan for its forces. The US was in the effort to use bases located in Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries.”
The Secretary of Defence declined to comment on whether the United States had secured a base in Afghanistan’s neighbour Pakistan and whether they were using it. Previously, after Pentagon officials revealed information about a base in Pakistan, it had stepped up pressure on its government. Therefore, Defense Secretary Austin appears to be making cautious moves to avoid that from happening again.