Following President Joe Biden’s decision to remove all US troops from Afghanistan by September, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin agreed to retain the USS Eisenhower in the US Central Command area for an extended period of time.
“And he has approved the addition of some long range bombers to be deployed to the region. Two of those B-52s have arrived in the region,” Kirby said.
The Stratofortress bombers are usually stationed in Qatar, where the US military has a significant presence.
Kirby did not rule out the possibility of further replacements being sent to insure the secure and orderly departure of about 2,500 US troops and another 16,000 people assisting the US mission in Afghanistan.
Another 7,000 NATO troops are stationed in the region, and they, too, depend on the US for material and security assistance.
“I think it’s reasonable to assume, as I’ve said before, that there could be temporary additional force protection measures and enablers that we would require to make sure that this drawdown goes smoothly and safely for our men and women,” Kirby told reporters.