Al Qaeda and the Islamic State’s Afghanistan department stay very weak contained in the nation, in keeping with American officers briefed on the intelligence. Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan are targeted on making native features, not mounting worldwide assaults. And the Taliban stays hostile to the group.
How properly america can monitor any adjustments in these threats will depend upon many components, Normal McKenzie and different senior navy officers mentioned.
The administration at the moment plans to take care of an embassy in Kabul — however what number of personnel, together with intelligence analysts, will stay is below debate. “That can be useful if we keep an embassy there,” Normal McKenzie mentioned.
Flying remotely piloted plane just like the MQ-9 Reaper from the sprawling Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar requires spherical journeys of as much as eight hours, leaving a lot much less time for drones to hover over targets in Afghanistan. In consequence, the Pentagon would wish many extra drones to attain 24-hour protection in a number of areas of the nation at a time when the Protection Division is seeking to switch surveillance plane to missions in Asia.
Normal McKenzie mentioned that the navy wouldn’t sacrifice precision in its focusing on to reduce the chance of civilian casualties. “We’re going to verify now we have a exact goal, and that we’re going to have the ability to management what occurs there,” he mentioned.
The implications of Mr. Biden’s determination continued to sink in on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
A number of prime Biden administration officers, together with Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees, and Zalmay Khalilzad, the longtime lead U.S. diplomat concerned within the Afghan peace course of, supplied labeled briefings on Tuesday to a number of socially distanced teams of lawmakers, and mentioned the president’s determination.
Normal McKenzie made one level clear in his public testimony: No extra fight troops. And no extra civilian contractors. (There are greater than 16,000 in Afghanistan, together with about 6,000 Individuals.) “We’re going to go to zero in Afghanistan,” he mentioned.