President Joe Biden authorized about 5,000 troops to deploy to Afghanistan to ensure the safe evacuation of U.S. and allied personnel, according to a White House statement Saturday.
Biden said the deployment will protect “those at special risk from the Taliban advance” and ordered “our armed forces and our intelligence community to ensure that we will maintain the capability and the vigilance to address future terrorist threats from Afghanistan,” according to the statement.
The actual number of new troops is around 1,000, as 4,000 are either already approved to deploy or stationed in Kabul, a Pentagon official told The Washington Post.
Biden also defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan as the country continues to lose ground to Taliban forces.
“Shortly before (Trump) left office, he also drew US forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500. Therefore, when I became President, I faced a choice—follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our forces and our allies’ forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict,” Biden said in the statement.
Biden announced in April that U.S. troops would leave Afghanistan by Sept. 11, extending the previous May 1 deadline former President Donald Trump had negotiated with the Taliban.
“One more year, or five more years, of US military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country. And an endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me,” he added.
The military group has easily taken several cities in the region as America’s military presence decreased in the country. U.S. Intelligence has estimated they could take Kabul in the next 90 days and effectively control the country, Reuters reported.
Biden previously said a total takeover of the country by the Taliban was “highly unlikely” in July.
“Over our country’s 20 years at war in Afghanistan, America has sent its finest young men and women, invested nearly $1 trillion dollars, trained over 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, equipped them with state-of-the-art military equipment, and maintained their air force as part of the longest war in US history,” Biden said.
Over the past several days I have been in close contact with my national security team to give them direction on how to protect our interests and values as we end our military mission in Afghanistan.
Read my full statement: https://t.co/C1f68bQaUQ
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 14, 2021
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will aid Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other leaders in the country to “prevent further bloodshed and pursue a political settlement.” Ambassador Tracey Jacobson has been tasked with leading the “government effort to process, transport, and relocate Afghan special immigrant visa applicants and other Afghan allies.”
Biden said the U.S. has communicated with the Taliban to make clear that any action by the group that puts American “personnel or our mission at risk there” will result in a retaliatory military response. (RELATED: REPORT: US Officials Destroy Sensitive Documents In Afghanistan Embassy As Taliban Close In)
“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 said.
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