President Biden released a statement on Sunday to mark the 10th anniversary of the raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden that said the US would be able to “disrupt any threat” from Afghanistan after combat troops are pulled out of the country.
As we bring to an end America’s longest war and draw down the last of our troops from Afghanistan, al Qaeda is greatly degraded there,” Biden said. “But the United States will remain vigilant about the threat from terrorist groups that have metastasized around the world. We will continue to monitor and disrupt any threat to us that emerges from Afghanistan.”
Last week, the White House said the Afghanistan withdrawal has officially begun. While Biden says he wants troops out by September 11th, and the US is reportedly in talks with the Taliban to get them out by July, US military officials have been clear that they want to maintain the ability to bomb Afghanistan.
In April, Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, said it would be “harder” but “not impossible” to strike targets inside Afghanistan after the withdrawal. The US is considering repositioning some forces to neighboring Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, although the US currently has no basing agreements with these countries.
Even if President Biden removes combat troops, the US will try to maintain influence of the Afghan military, which Washington plans to continue supporting financially. This means some contractors working for the Pentagon could stay in the country since the Afghan military relies on them for equipment maintenance. When it comes to gathering intelligence after the withdrawal, there will almost certainly be a continued CIA presence.