ANKARA, Aug 16 — The United States will send an additional 1,000 troops to help evacuate its embassy staff from the Afghan capital, Anadolu Agency (AA) quoted the joint statement by the US Department of State and Department of Defence on Sunday.
“At present, we are completing a series of steps to secure Hamid Karzai International Airport to enable the safe departure of the US and allied personnel from Afghanistan via civilian and military flights,” said the statement.
The departments noted that the US has expanded its “security presence to nearly 6,000 troops, with a mission focused solely on facilitating these efforts, and will be taking over air traffic control.”
“Tomorrow and over the coming days, we will be transferring out of the country thousands of American citizens who have been resident in Afghanistan, as well as locally employed staff of the US mission in Kabul and their families and other particularly vulnerable Afghan nationals.
“And we will accelerate the evacuation of thousands of Afghans eligible for US Special Immigrant Visas, nearly 2,000 of whom have already arrived in the US over the past two weeks,” the statement stressed.
“For all categories, Afghans who have cleared security screening will continue to be transferred directly to the US. And we will find additional locations for those yet to be screened,” it added.
The Biden administration’s last-minute decision to send additional troops reflected the “extremely grave” state of security in Afghanistan, according to the American press.
The development comes after the Taliban made rapid military advances, taking control of the country as Afghan government forces fled or surrendered.
The Taliban took over the presidential palace in Kabul on Sunday, according to the group’s spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid.
This came following an eventful day that saw minute-to-minute developments, including the Taliban’s entering the besieged capital and the departure of embattled President Ashraf Ghani along with his close aides.