Over the past week, the US has significantly stepped up its airstrikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan, with over a dozen strikes reported. On Tuesday, Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command (CENTCOM), warned that these frequent bombings would continue.
“The United States has increased airstrikes in the support of Afghan forces over the last several days, and we’re prepared to continue this heightened level of support in the coming weeks if the Taliban continue their attacks,” McKenzie said in a CENTCOM press release.
A Pentagon spokesman said the airstrikes were carried out by warplanes and armed drones. “A number of strikes have occurred over the last several days from both manned and unmanned strike platforms,” said Maj. Robert Lodewick.
Last week marked the first Afghanistan airstrikes publicly acknowledged by the US since McKenzie Gen. Scott Miller, the former top US commander in Afghanistan, handed his authority over to McKenzie and CENTCOM. With the bulk of US forces withdrawn from Afghanistan, the airstrikes are being carried out by warplanes and drones based outside of the country, most likely from the Gulf region.
The Pentagon has dubbed its ability to bomb Afghanistan from outside the country “over the horizon capability.” On Sunday, when asked by reporters, McKenzie wouldn’t say if these airstrikes would continue after August 31st, the date President Biden said the withdrawal would be completed by.