Washington. A timely decision to send 3,000 troops to help partially evacuate the US embassy in Afghanistan has raised questions about whether the US will be able to complete the withdrawal of troops within the August 31 deadline. Some forces of the US Marine Battalion arrived in Kabul over the weekend to protect US diplomats and thousands of their Afghan allies by air as the Taliban spread rapidly in Afghanistan.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the battalion chief reached Kabul on Friday and the remaining 3,000 soldiers would be there on Sunday. Officials say that the mission of the soldiers who have just arrived here is limited to helping the embassy personnel and their Afghan allies by air and this work will be completed by the end of this month. If the Taliban capture Kabul and it is threatening the embassy, then these soldiers can stay there for a long time.
The Taliban captured two more provinces south of Kabul early on Saturday and launched an all-out attack on the country’s north-centre Mazar-e-Sharif. The Taliban captured four more provincial capitals on Friday as the US mission in the country came to an end, raising fears they may soon head to the capital of the country where millions of Afghans live. In a press briefing at the Pentagon, Kirby said, “It is clear from their actions that they are trying to isolate Kabul.”
Kirby said the Pentagon was sending an additional 4,500 to 5,000 troops to military bases in the Gulf countries of Qatar and Kuwait. In addition, about 1,000 Army and Air Force personnel will be deployed in the coming days to help the State Department expedite special immigration visa applications for Afghan nationals and their families who work for the US and fear the Taliban, he said. will be sent to Qatar which will include army police and medical personnel.
The Pentagon will send 3,500 to 4,000 soldiers to Kuwait to be ready to deal with any situation. He said that in addition to the 3,000 soldiers that are being sent to Kabul, if needed, they will be sent from among the said soldiers. The additional troops the US is sending to evacuate its citizens from Afghanistan shows how rapidly the Taliban are taking over the country, less than three weeks before the official end of the 20-year US war in Afghanistan.
US President Joe Biden has set August 31 as the date for ending the US mission in Afghanistan. The US State Department had said the embassy in Kabul would remain partially functional, but Thursday’s decision to evacuate more embassy personnel and send thousands of additional US troops to the area shows a lack of confidence in the Afghan government’s ability to deter the Taliban. is happening. The Biden administration has also not ruled out the possibility of vacating the entire embassy.
As of Thursday, the US had evacuated 1,200 Afghans and their families from its former personnel. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the US would soon send planes on a daily basis to evacuate Afghan translators and those who had reached Kabul airport despite the fighting. America’s decision to send three thousand additional troops to evacuate embassy personnel and their allies has now raised the question whether Biden will be able to meet the deadline of August 31 for a full withdrawal of troops.
The presence of thousands of US troops in Afghanistan even after the withdrawal deadline could create an uncomfortable situation for Biden as he has repeatedly insisted on ending the war that has been going on for twenty years. Republican members are already criticizing the move to withdraw troops. He called it a mistake.
Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has said that he will not let 20 years of “achievements” go to waste. He said “deliberations” are continuing amid the Taliban attack. He addressed the nation through television on Saturday. This is his first public remark since the Taliban seized key areas in recent days.
Stephen Biddle, professor of international and public affairs at Columbia University, said sending 3,000 troops to Kabul would further discourage the Afghan people. There are currently a little over 4,000 personnel in the embassy. The State Department has not yet said how many personnel will be evacuated in the next two weeks. The Biden administration has given a direct warning to the Taliban officials that if any American is attacked during this period, the US will respond.