According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley asked his Russian counterpart in Finland last week about an apparent offer from Russian President Vladimir Putin for the US to use Moscow’s bases in Central Asia to spy on Afghanistan.
Unnamed US officials told the Journal that Milley raised the issue with Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov at the request of President Biden’s National Security Council staff. The report said Gerasimov was “noncommital” on the issue.
The Russian newspaper Kommersant first reported that Putin made the offer to Biden during the June 16th summit between the two leaders in Geneva. The report said Putin suggested the US could use Russian bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to monitor Afghanistan, including through drones flown across the border.
After Biden first ordered the Afghanistan withdrawal, the Pentagon was scrambling to find new basing agreements so it would be easier for the US to spy on and bomb Afghanistan after the pullout. But the US failed to reach an agreement with any regional countries.
The US insists that it maintains the so-called “over the horizon capability” in Afghanistan to fly drones for surveillance and airstrikes using bases or aircraft carriers in the Gulf region. So far, there have been no known US airstrikes in Afghanistan since August 29th, when a US drone slaughtered a family in Kabul, killing 10 civilians, including seven children.
Milley and other military leaders initially claimed the Kabul strike prevented an attack from ISIS-K, calling it “righteous.” But a report from The New York Times revealed the drone targeted an aid worker, not an ISIS member, and the Pentagon was forced to admit that the August 29th Biden only killed civilians.