KABUL: General Frank McKenzie, the Middle East commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM) has said that he would provide recommendations to the US Secretary of Defense on ways for monitoring and fighting terrorist groups in Afghanistan after all international forces leave the war-torn country.
Afghanistan’s neighbors for overflight rights and troop basing are “moving forward” but will take time, McKenzie was quoted by the Associated Press as saying on Wednesday.
He cautioned that this will be a “taxing time” for the Afghan military and “the risk is high.”
The Afghan military, notably its air force, has relied largely on the United States for maintenance and training, as well as combat air assistance when its forces are attacked, he said, adding that the Afghan forces had a “fighting chance” of succeeding and defending themselves.
McKenzie said “It’s time for the Afghan military to stand up and show that they can fight alone,”
“Our fear is that in Afghanistan, ungoverned zones grow up and they are able to reestablish themselves,” he added. “This isn’t going to happen right now. I don’t believe anyone believes this will happen next month, or even in the next six months. But they’ll ultimately regain their vigor and pose a threat to our homeland.”
Zalmay Khalilzad, US’s special envoy to Afghanistan, said Tuesday that expectations the Taliban would rapidly take Kabul was low and too pessimistic.