Comments on #Afghanistan in today's #DOD presser w/@PentagonPresSec in this THREAD. 1/n…
Q: Considering that @CENTCOM is saying they're not going to provide % any longer on #Afghanistan troop & equip withdrawal, I was wondering if there's any progress on getting us either DLA or some type of briefing on some of the things that can be discussed about the w/drawal? 2/n
And my second Q is has @SecDef had any discussions with #Turkey about security at the airport in #Afghanistan and do you see negotiations progressing on that issue? 3/n
MR. KIRBY: On your first question, I recognize the desire for a more fulsome briefing, & we are working towards that, & as soon as I have something more specific to announce, I certainly will. 4/n
On your second question, I don't have any conversations with Turkish leaders to read out to you today but I can assure you that @SecDef's in touch w/General McKenzie, as well as General Milley about the future of the airport... 5/n
...the importance of security at the airport as it relates to our ability to maintain a diplomatic presence in #Afghanistan, which, of course, will be supported by a measure of security forces by the Department of Defense... 6/n
...So yes, he's in discussions and consultations w/military leaders about the future. There has not been, as far as I know, any final decisions made about security at the airport, in terms of what that's going to look like, who's going to do it... 7/n
...& what the scope & scale of it's going to be, but I think you all heard from Gen McKenzie yesterday, recognizing that it is an important component in terms of the kinds of decisions that we're going to have to make going forward... 8/n
...So no update but it is something that @SecDef is very engaged on. 9/n
Q: The civilian contractors who keep the Afghan helicopters & planes flying are going to depart #Afghanistan w/the rest of the foreign troops. I wanted to see what is the plan to make sure the Afghan Air Force remains viable without these maintainers? 10/n
Because I'm seeing media reports that make it appear as though once the drawdown is complete, most Afghan aircraft will be grounded for lack of maintenance. 11/n
MR. KIRBY: As we've talked about before, & I think you heard Gen McKenzie speak to this yesterday. I mean, he and his staff are working through what the follow-on contractual arrangements will be made to continue to support things like aircraft maintenance for the #ANDSF. 12/n
...All those decisions have not been completed, but rest assured we're working hard on that. & again, when we have more discrete solutions to present, we'll do that. But you've heard @SecDef speak to this -- that our support for the #ANDSF... 13/n going to be largely in the financial realm, and that there will be some over-the-horizon logistical support for things like aviation maintenance. But again, we just haven't locked all the details down right now. 14/n
Q: The clock is ticking, and I understand there are no agreements yet for an over-the-horizon force in neighboring countries. & as the US military learned during the aviation crisis, a lack of maintainers means that planes don't fly... 15/n
...So I'm just trying to see, is there anything concrete that the Defense Department can say about how it intends to keep the Afghan Air Force in the fight after the withdrawal? 16/n
MR. KIRBY: We're mindful of the need for good aircraft maintenance, & we're certainly mindful of how important the Afghan Air Force & Special Mission Wing are to their self-defense capabilities. 17/n
...Again, I can assure you we're working on this very, very hard, and again, when we have more detail to provide, we certainly will. 18/n
Q: I would like to go back to the airport, the question of the airport. Is it something that will be decided during the @NATO summit in the next few days, or it's something that will be decided later? 19/n
MR. KIRBY: I don't have anything specific on the @NATO summit agenda to point to WRT this. There are ongoing discussions, & certainly, that we expect will have to include discussions w/#Turkey on what their intentions are with respect to security at the airport. 20/n
...But I don't want to get ahead of process here & predict to you a date certain where a decision will be made, or how that decision will be transmitted. But we are in active discussions right now, & when we have better clarity, it'll be easier to speak to what that means... 21/n
...for our diplomatic footprint and the security footprint that we at #DOD are going to have to provide to support the embassy compound in #Afghanistan. 22/22

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More from @JJSchroden

7 Jun
I’ve gotten a lot of questions recently about how the #ANDSF might fare after the US withdraws from #Afghanistan. I’m going to put some thoughts on that in this THREAD. 1/n
First, a recap, as I’ve written about this before. In JAN, I published this net assessment of the #ANDSF vs the #Taliban, in which I concluded the latter would have a slight military advantage after US advisors left. 2/n…
That conclusion was largely due to the #Taliban’s advantages of cohesion & financial self-sustainability, & not being as numerically outnumbered as most people think. But I acknowledged some key #ANDSF advantages, the most notable of which is air power. 3/n
Read 16 tweets
1 Jun
ICYMI, last week I published an article with @Diplomat_APAC titled “Will #Afghanistan Collapse When the US Withdraws?” Since the article is behind a paywall, I’ll summarize some of my main points in this THREAD. 1/n…
For the article, I was asked to explore what might happen in #Afghanistan in the year after the US withdraws. To do so, I found it instructive to revisit the years immediately following the Soviet withdrawal & to compare/contrast to the situation today. 2/n
I’ve seen people making superficial comparisons of these two eras to predict impending doom, but a detailed comparison reveals both striking similarities and distinct differences between the two, which should inform our thinking about the future of #Afghanistan. 3/n
Read 31 tweets
26 May
Points on #Afghanistan from yesterday's #DOD presser w/@PentagonPresSec in this THREAD. 1/n…
Q: Gen Milley has recently mentioned that securing Kabul Airport will be essential for keeping embassy presence not just for the US but for other countries after the withdrawal is completed & that there could be an int'l force assembled to do that... 2/n
...I wondered whether @SecDef agrees w/this & whether he's been talking to @NATO partners or others about organizing such a force.

MR. KIRBY: Certainly the secdef recognizes the key hub that is the airport there in Kabul & the impact that will have... 3/n
Read 29 tweets
25 May
Interest items on #Afghanistan from yesterday's #DOD presser w/@PentagonPresSec in this THREAD. 1/n…
.@SecDef spoke w/#Pakistan's COAS, Gen Bajwa, to discuss shared regional interests & objs. During the call, the sec reiterated his appreciation for PAK's spt for the #Afghanistan peace negotiations & expressed his desire to cont to build on the US-PAK bilateral relationship 2/n
Q: Getting back to #Pakistan, its Foreign Ministry put out a statement today ruling out the possibility of any US mil bases for the post-withdrawal from #Afghanistan #counterterrorism effort. Is there anything that the US is looking for right now from PAK... 3/n
Read 20 tweets
19 May
Comments by @PentagonPresSec on #Afghanistan at yesterday's #DOD presser in this THREAD. 1/n…
Q: In @US4AfghanPeace's testimony today, he said that the withdrawal is proceeding w/o any sig interference from the #Taliban & that he expects that to cont to be the case. You said you assumed there would be attempts by the TB to interfere. Have you changed your assessment? 2/n
MR. KIRBY: We would agree that thus far, the retrograde continues at pace, the withdrawal continues at pace with nothing more than some minor harassing attacks that have had no impact, so we agree w/that assessment. We certainly hope that that remains the case, going forward. 3/n
Read 16 tweets
18 May
I attended #SOFIC today, at which GEN Rich Clarke, the commander of @USSOCOM spoke. My notes from his speech (paraphrases, not quotes unless specified) are in this THREAD. 1/n
- #COVID19 has impacted @USSOCOM's operating culture—caused #SOF to look at where they need to be, how they interact, etc
- The withdrawal from #Afghanistan will bring changes. SOF were first ones in, will be the last ones out. Will spark a new era of opportunity for SOF. 2/n
- #SOF today are almost unrecognizable from SOF that invaded #Afghanistan in 2001. 20 years of the necessity of combat has been the mother of all inventions. SOF have had urgent warfighting needs for 20 years, and will continue to have these going forward. 3/n
Read 26 tweets

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