Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

TRANSCOM Chief: Crews ready to withdraw people, equipment from Afghanistan

Feb. 28, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
A KC-135 Stratotanker taxis Feb. 24 while members of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing salute at Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan. The KC-135 departed Manas after the final refueling mission over Afghanistan.
A KC-135 Stratotanker taxis Feb. 24 while members of the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing salute at Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan. The KC-135 departed Manas after the final refueling mission over Afghanistan. (Staff Sgt. Travis Edwards/Air Force)
  • Filed Under

U.S. Transportation Command will be able to quickly withdraw all troops and equipment from Afghanistan at the end of the year, if that is the option chosen, the TRANSCOM commander said Thursday.

“We have options,” Air Force Gen. William Fraser told the House Armed Services Committee . “We have capacity and we have capability, and we developed all of this in order to respond to whatever the decision is.”

President Obama on Tuesday ordered the Pentagon to formally prepare for a complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year because Afghan President Hamid Karzai is unlikely to sign a bilateral security agreement that would keep U.S. personnel in the country after the end of the year.

The withdrawal would come on the backs of Fraser’s command. The U.S. has worked with other nations in the region on agreements for transit out of Afghanistan, he said. In addition to air routes through the newly established Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in Romania, there are ground routes.

Fraser also said a new agreement with the government of Kuwait allows the U.S. Air Force and commercial aircraft to use intra­theater airlift to move equipment out of Afghanistan to a yard in Kuwait, and then to move it by ship out of the region, much like after the U.S. drawdown in Iraq.

The main hub for U.S. mobility in and out of Afghanistan for the past 12 years is closing down. The Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, hosted its last refueling mission on Feb. 24.

Over the past 12.5 years, KC-135s flew 33,500 sorties, refueling more than 135,000 aircraft with more than 12.2 billion gallons of fuel for the Afghan operation, according to the Air Force.

“It’s pretty special to be able to say that we were able to fly on the last sortie out of Manas,” said Col. Mike Seiler, commander of the 376th Expeditionary Operations Group, according to a release. “When [I] think about it, we flew our last sortie just like we did our first one: fighter support, troops in contact. … I got chills rolling down the runway for the last time.”

Answers sponsored by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Navy Times

This Week's Navy Times

Top TA & GI Bill schools
Most popular colleges cater to troops by taking classes to them

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook