President Joe Biden has pursued a goal of withdrawing virtually all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of this month, which has emboldened the Taliban to reclaim much of the war-torn country in recent days.
As the terrorist group gears up to potentially overrun Kabul in the near future, the troubling development has prompted the Department of Defense to send troops back into the capital city to evacuate remaining Americans and allies out of the U.S. embassy.
Thousands of troops dispatched
According to reports, three combat battalions totaling roughly 3,000 troops have been sent to the embassy and airport.
Another 1,000-member support team was dispatched to Qatar and a combat brigade team consisting of thousands of troops was sent to Kuwait to serve as a quick reaction force if the situation continues to deteriorate.
The latest update was revealed by Pentagon press secretary John Kirby during a press briefing on Thursday. In addition to U.S. citizens and embassy personnel, he noted that Afghan allies who qualify for Special Immigrant Visas by virtue of their assistance to American forces over the past two decades are also part of the evacuation effort.
As its first move, the U.S. military has shifted two Marine battalions and one Army battalion to the main airport in Kabul from other locations. These troops will bolster the roughly 650 American personnel and additional Turkish troops already tasked with securing the location.
The second phase involves the deployment of Army and Air Force personnel — specifically engineers, military police, and medical staff — to Qatar to help process visas among those who have evacuated out of Afghanistan.
“It should have been done much better”
Finally, an entire combat brigade team from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division — between 3,500 and 4,000 troops — are deploying from Fort Bragg to Kuwait in case additional support is needed.
Kirby went on to imply that additional aircraft for the purpose of airlift operations would likely be deployed in or around Kabul, though he declined to provide further details.
Of course, he downplayed the concerns of many Americans surrounding the underlying military drawdown, insisting that everything else is progressing according to plan and that a nearly total withdrawal is expected by the end of the month.
Former President Donald Trump initiated plans to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan last year but issued a statement this week decrying the Biden administration’s handling of the situation. He asserted that if he were still in the White House the withdrawal would be “conditions-based” and that the Taliban would not pose the same threat that it does now.
“What is going on now is not acceptable,” he said. “It should have been done much better.”