Biden is deploying 5000 troops to Afghanistan to ensure that U.S. personnel can be evacuated safely

PHOTO CREDIT: Gopnik-Biden

President Biden announced Saturday that he is deploying 5000 more troops to Afghanistan to ensure that U.S. personnel can be evacuated safely.

A U.S. defense official said the deployment included 1,000 newly approved troops from the 82nd Airborne Division.

The president dispatched 1,000 troops in addition to the 3,000 the Pentagon sent to Afghanistan earlier this week and 1,000 troops who are already on the ground, according to a defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter. The troops will help evacuate military personnel from Kabul as the Taliban continues to expand territorial gains at a stunning speed, raising fears they could soon topple the Afghan government.

As the Taliban pushes towards the capital, Kabul, after weeks of battlefield victories, the Biden administration has faced criticism for sticking to its plan to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by the end of August.

But Biden again defended his decision to pull US troops out of the country, saying: “I was the fourth president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan – two Republicans, two Democrats. I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth.”

Biden also said his administration had told Taliban officials in Qatar that any action that put US personnel at risk “will be met with a swift and strong US military response”.

Afghan President Ghani appeared in a televised address on Saturday for the first time since the Taliban's recent successes, swearing at the "achievements" the country has made in the 20 years since the United States defeated Taliban fighters after the September 11 attacks.

“We have started consultations, inside the government with elders and political leaders, representatives of different levels of the community as well as our international allies,” Ghani said. “Soon the results will be shared with you,” he added, without elaborating further.

The statement said Ambassador Tracy Jacobson, director of the government task force in Afghanistan, is tasked with securing a "full government effort" to relocate and relocate Afghan immigrant visa applicants and other Afghan allies.

15 August 2021

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