Air Force official says US to maintain presence in Mideast

By JON GAMBRELL Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The top U.S. Air Force general in the Mideast says American airmen will continue to be stationed in the region.

That's even as military planners consider competition with China and Russia as Washington's next major challenge.

Speaking to journalists Saturday in Dubai, Lt. Gen. Gregory Guillot acknowledged that presence "could adjust" after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.

The U.S. Air Force operates a major base in nearby Qatar, which oversaw operations in Afghanistan, as well as Iraq and Syria.

However, the general stressed that he didn't "see any scenario where the United States does not have an important role."

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