The US is reportedly considering sending drones or fighter jets into an extraordinary crisis following the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The United States is considering using drones or fighter jets to intervene if large Afghan cities are at risk of falling from the Taliban, the New York Times reported.
The report comes as the US continues its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, with the Pentagon expected to complete the withdrawal in early July, well before the September 11 deadline. A NATO-led coalition is also withdrawing its troops from the country.
Since Biden announced the withdrawal in April, US military officials have repeatedly raised concerns about the impact the move will have on Afghan security forces in their ongoing battle against the Taliban, which was disempowered by the intervention of foreign troops in 2001, but continues to do so Large parts of the country are in control.
Of particular concern was the planned end of US air support, which the Afghan armed forces are believed to have a tactical advantage over the Taliban.
On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that officials are considering the possibility of deploying fighter jets in what the newspaper calls an “exceptional crisis”, such as the impending fall of the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Such intervention would require the president’s approval, officials said to the newspaper. They added that it would be difficult to sustain attacks over a long period of time as the US was leaving all of its air bases in Afghanistan and likely starting operations from US bases in the Persian Gulf.
The report comes as the Biden administration grapples with unanswered questions about its future approach to the deadlocked conflict after its withdrawal ahead of a meeting with its NATO allies next week.
While pledging to support the Afghan government through aid and diplomatic efforts, US officials had previously said that they would only launch future military attacks in the country as part of “counter-terrorism” operations if there was a direct threat to the US.
However, officials told the newspaper that there had been renewed debate about what would pose a direct threat to the US.