President Joe Biden signed off on redeploying 1,000 troops to Afghanistan on Saturday night, restoring a total of 5,000 troops this week after vowing to fully withdraw militarily from the country by August 31.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country less than 24 hours after the new deployment, multiple Afghan and American news outlets reported Sunday. Taliban troops surrounded the capital of the country, Kabul, on Saturday and jihadist leaders reportedly negotiated the handover of the national government to the Taliban.
Biden’s plan reportedly provides for the evacuation of both American citizens and Afghans who helped American troops and are at risk of Taliban attack, Afghanistan’s Tolo News reported.
Biden also said in a statement issued Saturday:
Second, I have ordered our Armed Forces and our Intelligence Community to ensure that we will maintain the capability and the vigilance to address future terrorist threats from Afghanistan.
Third, I have directed the Secretary of State to support President Ghani and other Afghan leaders as they seek to prevent further bloodshed and pursue a political settlement. Secretary Blinken will also engage with key regional stakeholders.
Biden initially announced in April that he would leave troops in Afghanistan through September 11, 2021, breaking an agreement predecessor Donald Trump made with the Taliban to have forces out of the country by May 1. The Taliban has reportedly regained 85 percent of the country since May 1.
On Sunday, Afghanistan’s Khaama Press reported that Taliban leaders are in Kabul negotiating the end of the legitimate government of the country and its handover to the Taliban. The report comes after Ghani issued a prerecorded speech on Saturday claiming he was “remobilizing” barely functioning Afghan military forces. Tolo News has since reported that Ghani fled the country.
The Taliban, which has a long history of ties to international terrorist organization al-Qaeda, potentially has its sights set on reclaiming the U.S. Embassy.
The president in July said a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan was “highly unlikely” while he touted how the U.S. trained and equipped thousands of local troops. He also promised the U.S. would keep diplomatic ties.
Now, Biden and the corrupt Afghan government have aligned in blaming Trump for Afghanistan’s looming demise. Biden issued a statement while vacationing at Camp David scapegoating Trump for negotiating with the Taliban — even though the process was first started by former President Barack Obama — and doubling down on his decision to pull out troops.
“When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001,” Biden alleged.
Trump issued a statement Thursday arguing he would have handled the withdrawal differently.
“I personally had discussions with top Taliban leaders whereby they understood what they are doing now would not have been acceptable,” Trump said, noting that if he was still president, he would have focused on a “conditions-based” withdrawal.
Biden claimed in a statement Saturday to convey to the Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar, via US Combatant Commander, that any action on their part on the ground in Afghanistan, “that puts US personnel or their mission at risk there, will be met with a swift and strong US military response.”
“I have placed Ambassador Tracey Jacobson in charge of a whole-of-government effort to process, transport, and relocate Afghan Special Immigrant Visa applicants and other Afghan allies. Our hearts go out to the brave Afghan men and women who are now at risk. We are working to evacuate thousands of those who helped our cause and their families,” Biden said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) slammed Biden’s “botched” Afghanistan withdrawal, saying terrorists could now overtake the country.
“[Biden] owes the American public an answer on what he plans to do to make sure the region doesn’t turn into a breeding ground for more violent extremism that will lead to large-scale global attacks of terrorism,” McCarthy said.