US military officials said the request to deploy an aircraft carrier was sent to the desk of Pentagon Chief Lloyd J. Austin, who is expected to decide soon, The New York Times reported.
"The request has been made by Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of Central Command, military officials said, who asked for 24-hour support from a carrier, with its attendant fighter squadrons, and it is being viewed as a specific reference to the Eisenhower, which left its home port in Virginia in February and headed to the Mediterranean Sea," said the New York Times.
The Pentagon describes such a move as a “military retrograde operation” to protect troops as they leave an area.
“It’s not over yet,” Gen Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters aboard his airplane last week, just after President Joe Biden announced the Afghanistan withdrawal. “We have a lot of work ahead of us to make sure we get out in a good and orderly fashion, protect the force and continue defending America.”
“We’re going to protect the force,” Milley said. “We have a change of mission. Our mission is to conduct a retrograde while protecting the force, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”
US President Joe Biden announced that the United States will withdraw its remaining 2,500 troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11.
The US is currently establishing a new counterterrorism approach to Afghanistan now that US troops are withdrawing. Quoting US diplomats and military officials, The New York Times reported that possibilities in the region include Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
McKenzie said it would be “helpful” if the US can maintain the embassy in Kabul because the presence will assist in the ability to “see into Afghanistan.”