WASHINGTON (Dispatches) – The United States is pursuing basing options with Afghanistan’s neighbors after U.S. troops withdraw from that country but there is nothing to announce at present, a Defense Department spokesperson told Sputnik.
U.S. media reported on Sunday that Biden administration officials are in discussions with Pakistani officials to secure bases close to Afghanistan for future operations. The CIA had used a base in Pakistan to execute drone strikes, but was expelled out of the facility in 2011 as bilateral relations soured.
“While we have no basing agreements to announce, we know that Afghanistan’s neighbors share our desire,” the Defense Department spokesperson said on Monday.
The United States will continue to pursue options with partners and allies in the region, the spokesperson said.
The Defense Department is evaluating new basing options together with the State Department and the U.S. spy agencies, the spokesperson added.
Earlier on Monday, Central Command (CENTCOM) chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said the US military has completed roughly half of its withdrawal from Afghanistan and is on track to meet the September withdrawal deadline.
Meanwhile, Turkey has offered to guard and run Kabul’s airport after the United States and NATO forces withdraw from Afghanistan.
Turkish officials say Ankara made the proposal at a NATO meeting in May when the United States and its partners agreed on a plan to withdraw troops by Sept. 11 after 20 years of occupation of the country.
Turkish and U.S. officials have discussed possible requirements for the mission, some of which Washington has agreed to address, one Turkish official said.
“Following the United States’ decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, Turkey has made an offer to ensure the security of Kabul airport. In this framework, there are talks underway with NATO and the United States,” the Turkish official said.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Monday that Ankara’s offer was contingent on backup from those allies.
“We intend to stay in Afghanistan depending on conditions. What are our conditions? Political, financial and logistical support. If these are met, we can remain at Hamid Karzai International Airport,” his ministry quoted Akar as saying.