Updated Aug 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden orders 1,000 more troops to support airlift of U.S. embassy personnel and allies

U.S. Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby participates in a news briefing at the Pentagon August 13, 2021
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby at a news briefing Friday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Marines arrived in Kabul on Saturday as part of a 5,000-troop force reinforcement to secure an airlift of U.S. Embassy personnel and Afghan allies as the Taliban nears recapturing the state, AP reports.

The big picture: President Biden said on Saturday that an additional 1,000 soldiers would join about 4,000 soldiers and Marines that are either already on the ground or arriving soon.

  • Originally, 3,000 additional troops were going to be sent to Afghanistan, but Biden announced 1,000 more on Saturday.
  • The troops' mission is expected to be complete by the end of the month but may be extended if the U.S. embassy in Kabul is threatened by the Taliban.
  • The reinstatement of U.S. troops in Afghanistan comes after Biden set a deadline of Aug. 31 for fully withdrawing combat forces from the region.

What he's saying: "Based on the recommendations of our diplomatic, military and intelligence teams, I have authorized the deployment of approximately 5,000 U.S. troops to make sure we can have an orderly and safe drawdown of U.S. 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 said in a statement on Saturday.

State of play: The Taliban has captured more than half of Afghanistan's provincial capitals over the past week as insurgents continue their lightning offensive, threatening to isolate Kabul and topple the Afghan government.

  • Kabul is the only major city still under government control.
  • "Clearly from their actions, it appears as if they are trying to get Kabul isolated," Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during a press conference Friday.
  • The Taliban swept through the capitals of Paktika (Sharana) and Logar (Pul-e Alam) on Saturday. The militant group captured Jalalabad early on Sunday.

Go deeper: Mapped: The Taliban’s lightning offensive to take over Afghanistan

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect the capture of Jalalabad.

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