On Thursday, Washington renewed its criticism of the Iranian authorities’ support of armed militias in the region. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Iran continues to support proxy armed groups that are destabilizing the Middle East in an attempt to threaten its regional neighbors.
He also confirmed that it continues to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
In reviewing the US defense budget, he pointed out that part of this budget aims to address the ballistic missiles of countries such as Iran.
pursuit of al-Qaeda
As for the Afghanistan file, he made it clear that the withdrawal of US forces is proceeding as planned, stressing that the ministry is confident that it will have the necessary mandate to pursue al-Qaeda after the withdrawal.
He also affirmed Washington’s determination to maintain a good and fruitful relationship with the Afghans, and to continue to provide the necessary funding to the Afghan army, as well as to support the government.
In turn, Chief of Staff Mark Milley stressed “the continuation of the strategic, safe and deliberate withdrawal from Afghanistan while ensuring continued support for the security forces.”
It is noteworthy that Pentagon officials said earlier today, according to what the New York Times reported, that the Ministry of Defense is considering air strikes to prevent the fall of major Afghan cities, including Kabul and Kandahar, into the hands of the Taliban.
It is also considering requesting permission to carry out airstrikes to support Afghan forces if Kabul or another major city is in danger of falling, potentially introducing flexibility into President Biden’s plan to end the US military presence, senior officials told the New York Times.