The United States is detouring loads of armored vehicles to a Kuwaiti port city near the border with Iraq as it gears up for a major ground offensive against Islamist militants, the US News & World Report cited a senior US military official as saying Thursday.
“From June to December, we’ve worked a lot on moving items into Kuwait,” Air Force Maj. Gen. Rowayne Schatz told the media company. “The Army is holding the gear there, and it has room to hold it, as the mission fleshes out.”
Maj. Gen. Schatz, who is in charge of operations at the US Transportation Command, said that the military equipment – mostly assault-protected vehicles, but also electronics – will be parked and fixed at a Kuwaiti depot as the US command decides how to combat the Islamic State (IS) threat.
Some 3,100 armored vehicles are reportedly being redeployed from Afghanistan after the US military scrapped its plan to destroy or give away equipment it used during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
The Pentagon is planning a major offensive, Lt. Gen. James Terry told Fox News. He did not name any dates, but said the operation was set to begin in spring, to help besieged Kurdish Peshmerga fighters roll back the IS offensive.
Islamic State forces are in control of huge swathes of land in Iraq and Syria. In June, they declared a caliphate in the seized territories, forcing the non-Sunni population in those areas to either convert to Islam or flee for their lives. The brutality and rapid spread of IS insurgency prompted Washington to create an alliance of some 60 nations who have been pounding IS positions since August.