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Thursday, January 20, 2022

U.S. and Allies Plan Battle From Afar In opposition to Al Qaeda As soon as Troops Exit Afghanistan

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Daunting challenges face the American-backed Afghan safety forces. Over the previous yr, they’ve misplaced territory from repeated assaults by the Taliban and have relied on U.S. air energy to push again the insurgents.

With the Afghan authorities’s credibility waning, militias — as soon as the principle energy holders in the course of the days of the Afghan civil conflict within the Nineteen Nineties — have rearmed and reappeared, even difficult Afghan safety forces in some areas.

“If the president authorizes it, we are going to nonetheless have the ability to present some degree of navy help to the Afghan nationwide safety forces after we depart the nation,” William H. McRaven, the retired Navy admiral who directed the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, mentioned in an interview on Wednesday.

For the Pentagon and the intelligence companies, a key difficulty now’s how readily counterterrorism operations might be carried out from past Afghanistan. The historical past of such operations has a decidedly combined file. Cruise missile strikes launched from distant ships in opposition to terrorist targets in Afghanistan have had a low price of success.

The USA maintains a string of air bases within the Persian Gulf area, in addition to in Jordan, and the Pentagon operates a serious regional air headquarters in Qatar. However the farther that Particular Operations forces should journey to strike a goal, the extra probably the operations are to fail, both by lacking their mark or leading to a catastrophic failure that would kill American service members or civilians on the bottom, in response to officers who’ve studied the file.

Protection Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III, assembly with allies of the North Atlantic Treaty Group in Brussels on Wednesday, cited the navy’s capacity to strike terrorist targets in far-flung sizzling spots “in Africa and different locations” the place few, if any, troops are stationed, apparently referring to drone strikes and commando raids in Somalia, Yemen and Libya lately.

“There’s in all probability not an area on the globe that america and its allies can’t attain,” Mr. Austin informed reporters.

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