US Will Continue to Advise Afghan Forces, Says Gen. McKenzie


KABUL: The US military will continue to support Afghan security forces even after it leaves Afghanistan, a top US general said on Saturday.

General Kenneth Frank McKenzie, commander of the US Central Command has promised in an interview with Military Times that Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State terrorist groups will be kept under pressure.

The general said he had been in consultation with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin through Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on securing the US embassy in Kabul and providing counterterrorism support to Afghan forces from outside the country.

“The secretary is still chewing over it. We’re in a back-and-forth process, refining them, so unfortunately right now, because of that, there’s not much more I can share with you about the development of those plans,” he said.

The CENTCOM commander believed continued pressure on the extremist outfits had stopped them from attacks, both from Afghanistan and from Syria.
“What would worry me the most in the long run would be a future situation in Afghanistan in which these groups were not subjected to sufficient pressure…,” McKenzie added.

“So, we’re leaving,” he said, referring to a recent UN assessment warning that the Taliban were poised to retake control of Afghanistan. “Everyone is aware of this fact, and the only thing that will remain, if we can safeguard it, is our embassy platform,” he said.

“And we still intend to support the Afghan military from just over the horizon. We’re still going to support them with funding. We’re going to try very hard to support the Afghan air force over the horizon; some things will come out of the country to be worked on,” the US general added.
He went on to say that the US will give televised remote advise to Afghan soldiers who would be put to the test once the Americans left.