Washington: Commander of US Central Command Kenneth McKenzie said on Thursday that he is concerned about the ability of the Afghan military after US troops withdraw from the country in the coming months.
“My concern is the ability of the Afghan military to hold the ground that they’re on now, without the support that they’ve been used to for many years,” McKenzie said during a Senate Armed Services hearing.
“I am concerned about the ability of the Afghan military to hold on after we leave – the ability of the Afghan air force to fly, in particular, after we remove the support for those aircraft,” he added.
The general also noted that the United States would bring additional military capabilities to the region to cover US forces during the withdrawal, without providing details.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that McKenzie had requested the Pentagon to deploy an aircraft carrier to help protect NATO troops in Afghanistan as they withdraw.
President Joe Biden announced last Wednesday that all US and NATO troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan before Sept. 11, a decision to end the longest war in American history.
The decision drew criticism among some analysts and lawmakers, who warned the withdrawal would lead to worsening security satiation in Afghanistan with a possible revival of terrorism.
There are roughly 3,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and about 7,000 NATO troops in the country rely on US logistics and security support.