The United States’ top general in Afghanistan says the U.S. military has already begun closing down operations in the country in preparation for a full withdrawal.
“All of our forces are now preparing to retrograde,” Army Gen. Austin Miller told Afghan journalists at an April 25 press conference in the capital, Kabul.
Miller said the official notification date for the withdrawal would be May 1, but added that “as we start taking local actions, we’ve already begun that.”
The general told reporters that he’s often asked whether Afghan security forces can do the work in the absence of U.S. and other foreign troops.
Miller said that while some equipment would be brought back to the United States, some would be left behind to support Afghan forces.
The United States completely withdrawing from Afghanistan will make fighting terror more difficult, a top general said last week.
“If you’re out of the country and you don’t have the ecosystem that we have there now, it will be harder to do that. It is not impossible to do that, it will just be harder to do it,” Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, told members of Congress in Washington on April 20.
McKenzie said drone strikes that target terrorists would, in the absence of a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, have to originate in nearby countries. Top U.S. officials are looking into reaching agreements with countries near Afghanistan to locate resources.
“I think some of the forces are going to remain in Central Command because we are going to look at offshore, over-the-horizon options,” McKenzie said.
“I’m actually conducting detailed planning, by the direction of the secretary, to look at those options right now. I will report back to him by the end of the month with some alternatives.”
Biden said that it’s time to end “America’s longest war.”