The US Central Command deployed B-52 bombers to the Middle East, strengthening the US Air Force strategic presence in the region as a means to "deter aggression and reassure US partners and allies", the US military wrote in a statement on Saturday.
The move was made in light of recent news of a Trump decision to withdraw the next part of its troops from the region by January 15, 2021, further reducing the contingent to some 2,500 in Afghanistan and in Iraq, respectively.
“The ability to quickly move forces into, out of and around the theater to seize, retain and exploit the initiative is key to deterring potential aggression."— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) November 21, 2020
- Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot, U.S. AFCENT commander. @USAFCENT #WinToday #AirPowerhttps://t.co/bwWD8cse6N pic.twitter.com/4kuACwal4M
Lieutenant General Greg Guillot, the commander of the US 9th Air Force, said in the statement that the mission was performed by air crews on "short notice".
“The ability to quickly move forces into, out of and around the theater to seize, retain and exploit the initiative is key to deterring potential aggression," he said. "These missions help bomber aircrews gain familiarity with the region’s airspace and command, and control functions and allow them to integrate with the theater’s US and partner air assets, increasing the combined force’s overall readiness.”
During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump made the pledge to end "endless wars" fought by US assets abroad, promising to withdraw at least part of those US troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Trump struck a deal with the Afghan Taliban in February and soon thereafter the US commenced a withdrawal of troops from the territory.
At the moment, the number of the US military personnel is approximately 3,000 in Irag and 4,500 in Afghanistan. According to the Pentagon statement, the last time the B-52 'Stratofortress' bombers were in the Middle East was in early 2020.
* Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many countries