Washington Institute For Defence & SecurityWashington Institute For Defence & SecurityWashington Institute For Defence & Security
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In a statement released on Saturday, President Joe Biden authorised an additional direct deployment of 1,000 troops to Afghanistan. Biden said he authorized the deployment “to make sure we can have an orderly and safe drawdown of US personnel and other allied personnel and an orderly and safe evacuation of Afghans who helped our troops during our mission and those at special risk from the Taliban advance.”  Biden’s authorization of 5,000 troops in his Saturday statement included 1,000 who are already on the ground in country, according to a defense official. The 82nd Airborne Division’s battalion of 1,000 troops was rerouted to Kabul from their original standby station in Kuwait.

According to the defence official, the Pentagon had previously confirmed the arrival of 3,000 extra troops. As Biden faces a critical time in his presidency, August turns into a month of disasters. The 82nd Airborne troops rerouted to Kabul were supposed to be part of a contingent of up to 4,000 troops from the same division stationed in Kuwait on standby in case of a crisis.

By the end of the weekend, the majority of troops should be in Kabul. According to a top Democratic House staffer, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley will brief all members of the US House of Representatives on Afghanistan on Sunday.

The virtual briefing comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked the Biden administration for an update on the country’s deteriorating position. According to the aide, Sunday’s briefing will include unclassified material but will be followed by an in-person briefing on classified material the week of August 23 when the House returns from recess.

Biden stated in July that US forces would leave Afghanistan completely by August 31. The President has stood firm in his decision to leave, telling reporters earlier this week that he has no regrets and that it is now time for Afghans to “fight for themselves.” In many respects, the deterioration has bolstered Biden’s thinking, and he will continue to be briefed by his national security situation team over the weekend at Camp David.

In a statement released on Saturday, Biden stated that he would not hand over the US war in Afghanistan to a fifth president.

While the withdrawal of US troops is largely popular at home, the speed with which the Taliban are gaining control of Afghanistan — and the looming collapse of an Afghan government that took two decades to build with the help of thousands of US troops — is becoming a growing headache for the administration. The Taliban has made tremendous inroads in Afghanistan during the last week. The Taliban has taken control of cities such as Kandahar, Herat, and Kunduz, and their fighters are creeping increasingly closer to Kabul, the capital.

According to Mohammad Ali Hazrat, the leader of the provincial council, Jalalabad, the capital of Nangahar province, was in Taliban hands by Sunday morning. The fall of Jalalabad means 23 of the country’s 34 provincial capitals have been taken by the Taliban.

The situation has the potential to determine Biden’s foreign policy legacy, particularly in terms of the human rights ramifications for Afghan women and girls if the Taliban retakes power.

Pelosi commended Trump’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan in a statement released Saturday, but expressed concern over allegations of the Taliban’s treatment of women and children.

“The President is to be commended for the clarity of purpose of his statement on Afghanistan and the actions he has taken,” Pelosi said. The advancement of women’s rights, according to Pelosi, is “one of the successes” of the US-NATO military mission in the country.

“The Taliban must know that the world is watching its actions,” Pelosi continued. “The U.S., the international community and the Afghan government must do everything we can to protect women and girls from inhumane treatment by the Taliban.”



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