President Joe Biden has deployed 5,000 troops to Afghanistan to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies after the Taliban took over the capital of Kabul over the weekend, The Associated Press reports.
Biden on Sunday authorized 1,000 more troops to aid with the “orderly and safe drawdown” of Americans and Afghans who assisted the US military during the two-decade-long war.
The Taliban swept through the country in recent days, taking over major cities, often without any fight from the Afghan forces.
The US initially had 1,000 troops in place to help evacuate the Kabul embassy and others but the Pentagon quickly deployed more as Biden’s August 31 deadline to complete withdrawal began to appear too late.
Top military officials met with Taliban leaders in Qatar over the weekend to hammer out a deal to ensure that the military can continue to evacuate civilians from the Kabul airport without Taliban interference. Top military officials vowed to defend the airport if the Taliban advances.
At least seven people have died at the airport trying to hop on planes as they took off. Several people fell off of planes when they departed while two others were killed by the US military after an armed breach.
Biden to address nation:
Biden is returning to Washington DC from Camp David on Monday to address the nation.
Biden in a statement over the weekend defended the withdraw.
“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,” he said “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.”
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told NBC News on Sunday that remaining in the country was not sustainable.
"Despite the fact that we spent 20 years and tens of billions of dollars to give the best equipment, the best training and the best capacity to the Afghan national security forces, we could not give them the will," he said. "And they ultimately decided that they would not fight for Kabul and they would not fight for the country."
Republican lawmakers criticized Biden for carrying out a withdrawal that former President Donald Trump agreed to in a deal with the Taliban. The Republican National Committee this week quietly deleted a campaign page touting Trump’s “historic” deal with the Taliban.
"This is President Biden's Saigon moment," House Minority Whip Steve Scalise told CBS News. "And, unfortunately, it was very predictable. It seems like many in President Biden's intelligence community got this devastatingly wrong."
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney said both Biden and Trump bear responsibility.
“Everybody -- the Rand Paul, Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, Joe Biden view of the world here is fundamentally dangerous and irresponsible and wrong," she said.
But many on the left said the perpetual war was always a “fool’s errand” that should have ended years earlier.
And many foreign policy experts that delaying the withdrawal would have just delayed the inevitable.
“This kind of a crisis was inevitable whenever the U.S. pulled out, whether it had been 10 years ago, 19 years ago or 10 years from now,” Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, told Democracy Now. “This was rooted in the nature of the U.S. occupation that began in 2001.”