US aircraft carrier to support Afghanistan troop pullout

Published May 27, 2021
The USS Ronald Reagan will operate in the Middle East for up to four months, according to the Wall Street Journal.  — AFP
The USS Ronald Reagan will operate in the Middle East for up to four months, according to the Wall Street Journal. — AFP

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon has decided to move an aircraft carrier from the Asia-Pacific region to the Middle East to support the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The USS Ronald Reagan, the only American aircraft carrier in Asia-Pacific, is currently based in Yokosuka, Japan.

The United States Naval Institute fleet tracker reported on May 22 that after completing its winter maintenance period in Yokosuka, USS Ronald Reagan would start its spring patrol and had left Japan last week.

It will operate in the Middle East for up to four months, WSJ reported.

Mr Biden unveiled plans last month to pull all US and coalition troops out of Afghanistan by Sept 11. Officials had said then they would keep a carrier and its accompanying ships in the area to provide security while the forces move out of Afghanistan.

The Department of Defence said on Monday that it was discussing various options with Afghanistan’s neighbours, including Pakistan, to maintain their access to Kabul even after the withdrawal. The options being discussed with neighbouring states include acquiring “basing facilities”, the Pentagon said.

At a recent congressional hearing, US Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Affairs David F. Helvey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that “Pakistan has allowed us to have overflight and access to be able to support our military presence in Afghanistan”.

But Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri told journalists in Islamabad earlier this week that “there is no US military or air base in Pakistan, nor was any such proposal envisaged. Any speculation on this account is baseless and irresponsible and should be avoided”.

The issue of having access to Afghanistan after the pullout resurfaced at a news briefing on Monday.

“Is there anything that the US is looking for right now from Pakistan in terms of what happens after the (US) withdrawal (from Afghanistan) is complete?” a journalist asked.

“I don’t have any specific updates in terms of the potential for overseas bases there, after our withdrawal. These are obviously diplomatic discussions that are ongoing and are clearly not complete,” Pentagon press secretary John F. Kirby replied.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

LNG crisis
Updated 27 Jun, 2022

LNG crisis

Global LNG shortages have sent the fuel’s price spiralling to record highs.
Bloc politics
27 Jun, 2022

Bloc politics

USING the platform of the 14th BRICS Summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping has made some interesting observations...
KCR dream
27 Jun, 2022

KCR dream

RAILWAYS Minister Saad Rafique has basically clarified what many a commuter in Karachi has known for long: true and...
Outlawing torture
Updated 26 Jun, 2022

Outlawing torture

Physical or psychological torture is now considered almost a given in police and intelligence investigations.
High-profile case
Updated 26 Jun, 2022

High-profile case

IN a ‘breaking news’ culture, it is not often that such a significant development in a high-profile case can be...
Daska redux?
26 Jun, 2022

Daska redux?

AS the clock ticks down on the by-elections scheduled for next month on recently vacated Punjab Assembly seats,...