By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: Pentagon spokesman John F. Kirby said last week the US mission in Afghanistan, known as Resolute Support Mission (RS), effectively ends on May 1 when the United States and NATO formally enter the “mission to draw down”.
Kirby said the mission shifts on Saturday – May 1 – to become one of a drawdown.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Kirby said “it’s no longer about advise-assist for Afghan National Security Forces, and it’s …it’s no longer the Resolute Support mission under the NATO hat. It becomes the — the mission to draw down, to leave Afghanistan, and the — the assets at General Miller’s disposal will be designed to help him execute this drawdown in a safe and orderly way.”
Kirby said “May 1st is just around the corner, so they’re working hard at the final preparations to — to execute that new mission on May 1st.”
He also stated that it “would be irresponsible” for the US not to expect an attack by the Taliban during the exit process. “And that is why you are seeing additional force protection assets being flown — flowed into the region. We already talked about the carrier. We talked about the bombers yesterday. And as I said yesterday, there’s certainly, without getting into details, the likelihood that, you know, some additional ground force elements, too, could be introduced into Afghanistan to help us with a safe and orderly drawdown.
Kirby stated that Miller’s main function, come May 1, will be to draw down all U.S. military personnel and contractors that are serving in Afghanistan and do so in a safe and orderly way.
“After that, our relationship with Afghan National Security Forces transitions to one of support from outside the country, and we talked about that largely being through financial means,” he said.
But he noted the Afghan government still needs support from US contractors, particularly for aviation maintenance. He said: “we’re working our way through that.”
Kirby also noted that the Pentagon has ensured Miller has options available to “make sure he can keep our troops and those of our allies safe as they — as they come out.”