There’s been reported growing frustration and anger even within the Democratic administration itself over President Biden’s being utterly silent Friday into Saturday while for much of the past week the Taliban has steamrolled Afghan forces as it prepares to lay siege to Kabul. He’s even vacationing this weekend at Camp David; Axios described the president as “relaxing”.
Amid growing pressure to address the crisis which is seeing a rapid emergency evacuation from the US Embassy in Kabul with Pentagon assistance, President Biden belatedly addressed the situation late in the day Saturday. His first move was to announce an increase in the US security deployment to Kabul to assist the evacuation of US diplomatic staff.
“I have authorized the deployment of approximately 5,000 US troops to make sure we can have an orderly and safe drawdown of US personnel and other allied personnel,” he said while acknowledging the Taliban advance. Ironically the past months have witnessed a steady draw down of just as many troops – and now they will go right back.
Biden confirmed prior reports that Washington has signaled to the Taliban that it’s not to attack retreating US forces: “we have conveyed to the Taliban representatives in Doha, via our Combatant Commander, that any action on their part on the ground in Afghanistan, that puts US personnel or our mission at risk there, will be met with a swift and strong US military response,” Biden said.
Earlier in the day The Washington Post wrote:
US officials now appealing to the Taliban to wait for the completion of the U.S. evacuation saying that doing so would increase “the likelihood that both the international community and Afghans will accept the Taliban’s entry into the capital.”
More details began to be released within the hour after the statement’s release. Elite soldiers from Fort Bragg are being mobilized.
Remaining American civilians in the country have been told by the State Department to proceed to Kabul’s international airport “at your own risk”.
BREAKING: President Biden orders 1,000 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne’s alert brigade out of Fort Bragg to reinforce U.S. troops in Kabul. 5,000 U.S. forces will now be on the ground to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan.
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) August 14, 2021
Much of the rest of Biden’s statement deals with defending his rationale for the full US troop exit by the symbolic date of 9/11…
“America went to Afghanistan 20 years ago to defeat the forces that attacked this country on September 11th. That mission resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden over a decade ago and the degradation of al Qaeda,” the White House statement reads. “And yet, 10 years later, when I became President, a small number of US troops still remained on the ground, in harm’s way, with a looming deadline to withdraw them or go back to open combat.
More scenes like the following will continue in the coming days and weeks:
Taliban in the house of Dostum, the warlord the US gave the vice presidency and $100k a month to. pic.twitter.com/wAwr9h9kQ6
— Richard Hanania (@RichardHanania) August 14, 2021
“Over our country’s 20 years at war in Afghanistan, America has sent its finest young men and women, invested nearly $1 trillion dollars, trained over 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, equipped them with state-of-the-art military equipment, and maintained their air force as part of the longest war in US history,” Biden continued. “One more year, or five more years, of US military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country. And an endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me.”