U.S. and Allies Plan Fight From Afar Against Al Qaeda Once Troops Exit Afghanistan

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 through the days of the Afghan civil conflict within the 1990s — have rearmed and reappeared, even difficult Afghan safety forces in some areas.

“If the president authorizes it, we will still be able to provide some level of military support to the Afghan national security forces after we depart the country,” 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 businesses, a key difficulty now could be how readily counterterrorism operations will be carried out from past Afghanistan. The historical past of such operations has a decidedly combined report. Cruise missile strikes launched from distant ships towards terrorist targets in Afghanistan have had a low price of success.

The United States 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. But the farther that Special Operations forces should journey to strike a goal, the extra seemingly 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 report.

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

“There’s probably not a space on the globe that the United States and its allies can’t reach,” Mr. Austin informed reporters.

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