As security in Afghanistan deteriorates rapidly, an official has announced that the United States will send more troops to help evacuate some staff from the US embassy in Kabul.
Soldiers will provide ground and air support for the processing and protection of Americans sent out of the country, the official, who spoke anonymously, said he could discuss a plan that has not yet been made public.
Afghan government forces are declining faster than U.S. military leaders thought a few months ago, when President Joe Biden ordered the withdrawal of all troops from the country.
But there is little hunger among the White House, the Pentagon or the American public to prevent a Taliban attack, and it is probably too late to do so.
Biden has made it clear that he does not intend to change the decision taken at the beginning of the year, despite the decision that the Taliban will take over the country.
Now that most U.S. troops have withdrawn and the Taliban are dominating, US military leaders are not pushing for the president’s decision to be reversed. They know that the real way is to resume the armed conflict that the President has already decided to end.
The Taliban, which has ruled the country since 1996 after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks until US forces invaded Afghanistan, captured three more provincial capitals on Wednesday and another 10 and 11 weeks on Thursday. It has given them two-thirds control of the country.
The rebels have no air force and are heavily manned by US-trained security forces, but they captured areas of the country, including the third most populous city, Herat, at an impressive pace on Thursday.
In a new warning to Americans in Afghanistan, the US embassy in Kabul on Saturday called on citizens to leave the country immediately.
The announcement comes amid growing debate in Washington about further cuts to the embassy’s limited staff.
The Pentagon’s chief spokesman, John Kirby, said there was still time for Afghanistan to avoid a final defeat.
“Any possible consequences, including the fall of Kabul, should not be avoided,” Kirby told reporters. “It does not have to be this way. It is up to the Afghans and the political and military leadership to change this.”
Biden made a similar argument on Tuesday, telling reporters that US troops had done everything they could to help Afghanistan over the past 20 years.
“They have to fight for themselves, they have to fight for their nation,” he said.
The United States has continued to support the Afghan military with a limited number of airstrikes, but so far they have not made a strategic impact and are due to end when the United States formally suspends its involvement in the conflict on August 31.
Biden may continue airstrikes past that date, but that option is unlikely given his firm stance on ending the conflict.
Carter Malcolm, who has advised U.S. military leaders in Afghanistan and Washington, said: “I doubt the August 31 deadline.
Senior U.S. military officials have warned Biden that the Taliban could seize power if the U.S. withdraws en masse, but the president decided in April that continuing the war would be futile.
On Tuesday, he said that despite rumors that the Taliban could reach Kabul very soon, while threatening the security of US and foreign diplomats, his decision was consistent.
The most recent U.S. military assessment, taking into account the Taliban’s latest developments, indicates that Kabul may come under pressure from rebels in September and that the country could fall completely into the hands of the Taliban in a month or two. A security official who discussed the internal analysis while anonymous.