The US is deploying additional forces to Afghanistan and the surrounding regions to aid in President Biden’s plan to withdraw all combat troops by September 11th.
Since Biden broke the US-Taliban peace deal by extending the withdrawal deadline, attacks against US forces in Afghanistan could start up again after May 1st, the original pull-out deadline.
The Pentagon said that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin approved the deployment of a number of B-52 bombers to Afghanistan, two of which already arrived. Austin also ordered the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower to stay in the Gulf region.
“It would be foolhardy and imprudent not to assume that there could be resistance and opposition from the Taliban,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Friday.
On Thursday, the Taliban said it’s “too early” to say if they will start attacking US and NATO forces after May 1st, although the group has warned of “consequences” for Biden’s failure to meet the withdrawal deadline.
February 8th marked the first full year that no US troops died in combat in Afghanistan since the war started. President Biden’s decision to extend the withdrawal deadline does little but risk US casualties.
President Biden said he wants all troops out of Afghanistan by September 11th, but questions remain over the presence of Pentagon contractors, and US military officials have made clear that they want to maintain the ability to bomb targets in the country.