The temporary buildup of troops for U.S. evacuations highlights the stunning pace of the Taliban takeover
WASHINGTON : Three thousand fresh U.S. troops were rushing to Kabul on Friday in a temporary deployment to speed evacuation flights for some American diplomats and thousands of Afghans, as the Taliban pressed a lightning offensive that has captured much of the country and risks isolating Afghanistan’s capital city.
The Pentagon also was moving another 4,500 to 5,000 troops to bases in the Gulf countries of Qatar and Kuwait, including 1,000 to Qatar to speed up visa processing for Afghan translators and others who fear retribution from the Taliban for their past work with Americans, and their family members.
The remainder — 3,500 to 4,000 troops from a combat brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division — were bound for Kuwait. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the combat troops would be a reserve force on standby “in case we need even more” than the 3,000 going to Kabul.
The temporary buildup of troops for U.S. evacuations highlights the stunning pace of the Taliban takeover of much of the country, less than three weeks before the U.S. is set to officially end nearly 20 years of combat in Afghanistan.
President Joe Biden has remained adamant about ending the U.S. mission in Afghanistan on Aug. 31, insisting the American and NATO mission that launched Oct. 7, 2001 has done what it could to build up a Kabul-based Afghan government and military that could withstand the Taliban when Western troops finally withdrew.