To maintain tabs on the navy state of affairs on the bottom, the U.S. navy desires to proceed utilizing some model of what it calls the Mixed Situational Consciousness Room, the place it coordinates with its Afghan counterparts (typically over WhatsApp), funneling data and serving to put air help and different forces into place on the battlefield. Nevertheless it stays unclear the place the command heart could be, with choices together with the American Embassy or outdoors the nation.
Although the Afghan Air Power has turn into more and more succesful lately, American drones and different surveillance plane nonetheless present key focusing on data. And U.S. strikes, although diminished underneath extraordinarily restrictive guidelines of engagement, nonetheless happen as worldwide forces depart and Afghan safety forces battle to carry floor.
U.S. navy officers imagine america will commit a big variety of reconnaissance plane to proceed to assist the Afghan forces however will restrict airstrikes to “counterterrorism operations” solely, a free description that has been used previously to justify quite a lot of actions.
With no bases to place plane near Afghanistan, meaning American plane must fly from bases within the Center East or from plane carriers within the Arabian Sea to help Afghan forces or to conduct counterterrorism missions from “over the horizon.”
For prop-powered surveillance drones and planes, meaning several-hour journeys simply to get to Afghanistan.
For jets primarily based on plane carriers, meaning frequent midair refueling stops. As land-based U.S. jets depart Afghanistan, United States forces are struggling to satisfy the demand for carrier-based plane due to an elevated want for refueling tankers. For now, the jets onboard the united statesS. Eisenhower within the Arabian Sea can fulfill solely round 75 p.c of the requests over Afghanistan, a navy official mentioned.
Questioned by lawmakers final month in regards to the challenges of countering terrorist threats in Afghanistan after American troops depart, Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the top of the Pentagon’s Central Command, mentioned, “It’s going to be extraordinarily troublesome to do, however it isn’t unattainable.”