June 13, 2024

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Afghan Pullout Leaves U.S. Looking for Other Places to Station Its Troops

WASHINGTON—U.S. army planners are wanting for solutions to foundation forces and tools in Central Asia and the Middle East just after American and allied troops go away Afghanistan in the coming months.

With withdrawal preparations ramping up, U.S. army commanders want bases for troops, drones, bombers and artillery to shore up the Afghan govt, maintain the Taliban insurgency in test and monitor other extremists. Alternatives remaining assessed variety from nearby nations to a lot more distant Arab Gulf emirates and Navy ships at sea, U.S. govt and army officers stated.

Preferable, according to some army and Biden administration officers, would be Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, which border Afghanistan and would make it possible for for swift obtain. But Russia’s massive army footprint in the location,  China’s increasing a single and tensions among them and Washington complicate plans for Central Asian bases, the officers stated.

“The push to perform seems to be like it will be a small bit for a longer period for now,” a single formal stated.

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Zalmay Khalilzad,

the U.S. specific representative for Afghanistan, traveled to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan this previous week. Mr. Khalilzad’s discussions focused on endeavours to broker peace amongst the Afghan factions before the Sept. 11 withdrawal deadline—a topic a U.S. formal associated in the discussions stated is of issue to  Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, which don’t want a spillover of the violence.

No official requests for bases in Central Asia have been made to day, according to U.S. officers, with the Pentagon still weighing the execs and negatives. The Point out Office and White Home are also associated in the choice.

The hastened arranging to come across regional footholds for the U.S. army is component of a general scramble to meet up with the September deadline set by President Biden last thirty day period but which U.S. protection officers say could be accomplished as early as July. Tensions have been mounting among Afghan teams even before the deadline was announced, and numerous U.S., Afghan and other officers are worried the withdrawal could precipitate a slide into broader conflict.

Army Gen. Scott Miller, the top rated commander in Afghanistan, and Maritime

Gen. Frank McKenzie,

who heads U.S. Central Command, submitted tough plans to Defense Secretary

Lloyd Austin

late last thirty day period for the drawdown of personnel and tools from Afghanistan.

Those plans, which army officers stated are not finish, entail 25,000-thirty,000 full personnel, which includes North Atlantic Treaty Corporation and American forces and contractors. Still to be decided is how numerous people the Point out Office wants to retain at the sizable U.S. Embassy in Kabul, even though that quantity could be as large as one,000 People in america, U.S. officers stated.

The U.S. had maintained a foundation in Uzbekistan till it pulled out in 2005. The Karshi-Khanabad foundation revealed in 2002.



Photograph:

Bagila Bukharbaeva/Involved Press

Also missing from the tough plans is the place to foundation American forces submit-withdrawal, all those officers stated, and finding hosts could establish demanding.

Ultimately, administration officers stated, they want locations that are shut to Afghanistan for troops, drones and other rapid-reaction tools, in the party, for instance, of an attack on its embassy in Kabul. When it announced the withdrawal last thirty day period, the Biden administration stated it would launch airstrikes or conduct surveillance missions if al Qaeda reappeared in Afghanistan or yet another team like Islamic Point out posed a danger to the U.S. or its pursuits.

If nearby nations are not obtainable, U.S. officers are wanting farther afield for “over the horizon” solutions in Arab Gulf allies, several of which now host American forces.

The fallback is employing an aircraft provider to host aircraft that could be applied for missions over Afghanistan, even though the Navy is reluctant to dedicate a provider total time to the location thanks to wants elsewhere, according to Navy and other officers.

Having obtain to bases in Central Asia would return the U.S. to a position it held in the initial many years of the Afghan war. The U.S. maintained two bases in Central Asia, a single each individual in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, which were being applied for Afghanistan functions. But it decamped from Uzbekistan in 2005 and from Kyrgyzstan approximately a ten years later on, just after a regional team, led by Russia and China, pressured the U.S. to eliminate its forces from the location.

Russia viewed the U.S. existence in what had been component of the Soviet Union with expanding suspicion, particularly just after uprisings in Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan unseated leaders loyal to the Kremlin.

Relations among Russia and the U.S. have in numerous means worsened because then, as have ties among Washington and Beijing. Still, they share the U.S.’s curiosity in bringing balance to the location, and the Central Asian nations also want a counterbalance to Russia’s and China’s affect, U.S. and foreign officers stated.

Uzbekistan is pressing forward with a railway venture that backlinks the landlocked nation to Pakistan by means of the Afghan town of Mazar-e-Sharif and wants plenty of balance to pull it off.

Central Asian “countries want their cake and to consume it, much too, and to have a multivector foreign policy, so they don’t want the U.S. to go away them hanging,” stated

Paul Stronski,

a senior fellow in Carnegie’s Russia and Eurasia Application.

Publish to Vivian Salama at [email protected] and Gordon Lubold at [email protected]

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