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Statement | July 26, 2021

Gen McKenzie press availability opening remarks, Kabul, Afghanistan July 25, 2021

Gen McKenzie Press Availability
July 25, 2021
Kabul, Afghanistan

Gen McKenzie - Thank you or joining me here today. I want to give you an update to our continuing assistance to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and and the ANDSF.

Gen McKenzie - I am here today to meet with the President of Afghanistan, President Ghani, and security leaders of GIROA. I am here for consultations on their security plan for the defense of Afghanistan, and to reassure them of the United States support to their security efforts.

Gen McKenzie - We had a very good dialogue on the government's defense plan as they work to stabilize the security situation and to blunt the Taliban offensive.

Gen McKenzie - Specific support that I reassured the government that we are continuing to provide includes airstrikes in defense of ANDSF forces under attack by the Taliban, contract logistics support both here in Kabul and over-the-horizon in the region, funding for them, intelligence sharing, and advising and assisting through security consultations at the strategic level.

Gen McKenzie - I'd like to take a moment just to highlight some of that support and how it's being executed. The United States has increased airstrikes in the support of Afghan forces over the last several days, and we're prepared to continue this heightened level of support in the coming weeks if the Taliban continue their attacks. We continue to provide contract maintenance and logistics support here in Kabul to maintain Afghan defense capabilities, including their aviation capability. We continue to provide maintenance, advising them from over-the-horizon, and we're prepared to execute over-the-horizon aircraft maintenance and refurbishment with aircraft that will be flown to a third country, repaired, and returned to service in Afghanistan with the Afghan Air Force.

Gen McKenzie - We've continued our robust funding support to the ANDSF, and we have worked with the government to assure they have the resources they need to continue to fight. Finally, we continue to advise the Afghan government on the security plan, both with my team here on the ground, but also through engagement from our headquarters in Tampa.

Gen McKenzie - I'd like to be very clear, the government of Afghanistan faces a stern test in the days ahead. The Taliban are attempting to create a sense of inevitability about their campaign. They're wrong. There's no preordained conclusion to this fight. Taliban victory is not inevitable. I was heartened by the sense of urgency and purpose I saw tonight from the president and his advisers. They have a good plan. A plan that will concentrate their forces. And it's going to require taking a risk to execute as any good plan does. Let me say again, there are going to be hard days ahead, but there's a path that can lead us to a political solution to this war.

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