US CENTCOM chief concerned about Taliban’s ‘actions’

US Central Command Chief Frank McKenzie indicated Monday that the Taliban would need to change course for Washington to withdraw all its troops by the May 1 deadline.

Addressing a virtual event held by the Middle East Institute, McKenzie, the Marine Corps general said: “Frankly, I remain concerned about the actions that the Taliban has taken up until this point.”

“The matter is under review,” he said.

This comes after a congressionally-mandated Afghan Study Group report released last Wednesday recommended that US troops should stay in the country beyond the deadline.

Reading at first from a statement, McKenzie was careful about voicing his stance on the deal signed between the US and the Taliban in February last year.

“I know that the administration has taken a close look at the way forward,” he said.

“Some key elements of that plan though, require the Taliban to take actions, and so they need to do some things, too, if we’re going to go forward.”

McKenzie acknowledged that he has been consulted about the way forward and said: “I’ve had the opportunity to give inputs.” he said.

“I know they’re (Biden administration) giving it a great deal of thought and consideration, and we’ll have a way forward here, I think, in the near future.”