Washington/Kabul: United States President Joe Biden has authorised an additional 1,000 American troops for deployment to Afghanistan, taking to nearly 5,000 the number of US troops, to ensure an “orderly and safe drawdown” of US and allied personnel.
In a statement, Biden said he has conveyed to the Taliban representatives in Doha “that any action on their part on the ground in Afghanistan, that puts U.S. personnel or our mission at risk there, will be met with a swift and strong U.S. military response”.
He also said he has ordered the US Armed Forces and Intelligence Community to “ensure that we will maintain the capability and the vigilance to address future terrorist threats from Afghanistan”.
Biden said he has directed Secretary of State Antony Blinken to support Afghan President Ashraf 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”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post has reported that the US is negotiating with the Taliban to prevent the group from attacking its troops during the evacuation of American personnel in Kabul.
The newspaper said the US administration has made attempts to prevent the Taliban from attacking American soldiers.
US Special Representative to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad met with Taliban officials in Doha, Qatar, and Washington reportedly asked the Taliban not to do anything until the evacuation of staff at the US embassy.
The Biden administration has placed Tracey Jacobson in charge of the entire process to 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,” he added.
He said over the past 20 years of the US involvement 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 U.S. history”.
“One more year, or five more years, of U.S. 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,” he added.
“When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor—which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019—that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on U.S. Forces.
“Shortly before he left office, he also drew U.S. Forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500. Therefore, when I became President, I faced a choice—follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our Forces and our allies’ Forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict.
“I was the fourth President to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan—two Republicans, two Democrats. I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth,” he said.