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The US military has deployed B-52 bombers to the Middle East, just days after the Trump administration announced a partial withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and Iraq.
According to Fox News, the US Central Command said that the crews of B-52H “Stratofortress” of the US Air Force carried out the mission at “short notice” “to deter aggression and reassure US partners and allies.”
“The ability to move forces quickly in, out, and around the theater of operations to seize, hold and exploit the initiative is key to deterring any potential aggression,” said Gregory Guillot, Commander of the Ninth Air Force.
“These missions help the bomber crews learn about the areas airspace, command, and control functions, and allow them to merge with US and partner air assets in the theater, which increases the overall readiness of the joint force,” he added.
It is unclear where the B-52H bombers have gone in the Middle East, but they have departed from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.
Minot Air Force Base is the only base in the United States that houses ICBMs in underground silos as well as a fleet of bombers that are also capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
It is the B-52’s first mission to the Middle East in several months. And in January, after the US Army’s elite Joint Special Operations Command killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike, six B-52 bombers were sent to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
Earlier, President Trump’s new Defense Secretary, Christopher Miller, announced the withdrawal of troops to 2,500 in Afghanistan and 2,500 in Iraq by January 15 of next year. There are approximately 4,500 troops in Afghanistan and 3,000 in Iraq now.
Miller said: “In light of the tremendous sacrifices and the great humility and gratitude of those who preceded us, I officially announce that we will implement President Trump’s orders to continue to relocate forces from these two countries.”
He added, “This is consistent with our set plans and strategic goals, which are supported by the American people, and does not mean changing the policy or goals.”
- The situation in Egypt
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