The U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense (DOD) announced Sunday that an additional 1,000 troops would be deployed to Afghanistan to ensure the safe evacuation of American citizens.
“At present we are completing a series of steps to secure the Hamid Karzai International Airport to enable the safe departure of U.S. and allied personnel from Afghanistan via civilian and military flights,” the Sunday joint statement read.
The additional troops were expected to join the 5,000 previously deployed within 48 hours since the announcement, bringing the total number of U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan to about 6,000, according to the statement.
#BREAKING: Pentagon is rushing additional 1000 US troops to Hamid Karzai Airport in Kabul. Overall number of US troops at the airport and the US embassy will go up to 6000 now. Rescue of US diplomats, staff and visa applicants underway on mission mode.
— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) August 15, 2021
“Tomorrow and over the coming days, we will be transferring out of the country thousands of American citizens who have been resident in Afghanistan, as well as locally employed staff of the U.S. mission in Kabul and their families and other particularly vulnerable Afghan nationals,” the statement continued.
Nearly 2,000 Afghans fled to the U.S. in the past two weeks, according to the DOD. (RELATED: As Kabul Heats Up, Bernie Calls For Open Doors To Afghani Refugees)
The situation in the country precipitously deteriorated Sunday when the Taliban advanced into the capital, Kabul. The militant group’s offensive was expedited by the departure of the president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, earlier Sunday, which jeopardized a plan for a peaceful transition of power.