The carrier and its escort of other warships routinely take part in patrols in the disputed waters of the South China Sea and the Strait of Taiwan, despite protests from Beijing. Washington justifies the presence of its fleet in these distant waters by the need to uphold “freedom of navigation”.
The Pentagon has ordered a redeployment of the USS Ronald Reagan, its only aircraft carrier in the Asia-Pacific region, so that it can help with the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, The Wall Street Journal has reported, citing anonymous defence officials. The carrier has reportedly left its homeport in Japan and will presumably be moving to the Arabian Sea this summer, the media reported.
The WSJ’s sources said the carrier will spend four months carrying out its new assignment, filling in the spot of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, which is currently deployed in the Middle East, but is set to return home by July. Apparently the USS Ronald Reagan’s new deployment will end by 11 September – the date that US President Joe Biden had set as the deadline for the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The move to pull troops out comes as the 20th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan looms. Last year, US President Donald Trump signed a peace agreement with the Taliban*, under which the group pledged to prevent the country from turning into a base for Al-Qaeda and to engage in negotiations with Kabul in exchange for a US military withdrawal.
The latter was initially due to be…