The Taliban are surging across Afghanistan, taking provincial capitals all over the country. As they inch closer to Kabul, the DoD sent around 3,000 troops to evacuate Americans. They plan to evacuate thousands of American citizens and Afghan interpreters from the city.
UPDATE: The US says in addition to the 3,000 troops, there will be 3,500 troops to Kuwait and 1,000 to Qatar to participate in the operation. (Military Times)
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The DoD sent the troops to “secure” civilians and the airport from which they will have to depart. The deployment includes two Marine Infantry battalions, and one Army infantry battalion. The DoD says the diplomatic work of the US Embassy will continue, but with the proximity of the Taliban, they may need to leave at a moment’s notice.
“This is a temporary mission with a narrow focus. We’re mindful that the security situation continues to deteriorate in Afghanistan. And as I said before, our troops will as always have the right of self-defense. But this is a narrowly focused mission to help safeguard an orderly reduction of civilians.”
John Kirby DoD spokesman
The US has stated emphatically that this is not an abandonment, and not a full withdrawal of diplomats. But in spite of their statement, it looks bad on our part. The cut and run approach removes any tiny spot of confidence they may have had left after the debacle at Bagram air base. It shrieks that the US has no confidence that Afghan troops can hold the city or any of the remaining countryside. It is being widely reported that Biden negotiators actually asked the Taliban not to attack the US embassy and warned them not to bet on taking over Afghanistan.
The Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, has no air force or navy and is vastly outnumbered by U.S.-trained Afghan army forces but was able to take provincial capital after provincial capital with alacrity. Anonymous U.S. officials have told media outlets that the Afghan government army has collapsed even faster than previously thought possible.
The U.S. embassy in Kabul, in a fresh warning to American citizens, urged them to leave Afghanistan immediately. Its ability to assist Americans in the country will soon be “extremely limited,” according to the bulletin, due to reduced staffing and security concerns.
There have been many reports of Afghan fighters fleeing the Taliban attacks. Some have gone to Tajikistan. The Taliban has reportedly exacting revenge on government troops, and imposing their strict Islamic rules on everyone in the places they’ve taken. One military officials called watching this happen “demoralizing.” (Fox) If it’s demoralizing for our military officials, what do they think it is for the citizens of Afghanistan?
“This is all melting down in a short period of time.”
Military official at the Pentagon.
The US has trained Afghan forces for the last 20 years. Some military experts believe the Taliban could take over in 30-90 days. Afghan forces had equipment and expert instruction. They have not apparently had the fighting spirit needed to save their nation from terrorists.
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