US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on Monday that the Pentagon has authorized 1,000 more troops to head to Afghanistan amid the withdrawal chaos at the airport in Kabul over the last several days.
The addition of the 1,000 troops that were originally slated to head to Kuwait will bring the total number of troops at the Hamid Karzai International airport to 3,000 in the next few days. In total, 6,000 US troops are expected in the area by the end of the week to assist in quelling the disruption that has erupted in and around the airport as the US withdrew its last remaining military in the region last week and the Taliban moved into Kabul, taking power in Afghanistan for the first time since the US first invaded the country after September 11, 2001.
Seven people have died and there are reports of the Afghan military firing at the crowds as hundreds of Afghan nationals pack the airport, desperate to flee Kabul and the Taliban’s new rule. Video from al Jazeera shows men and women clinging to US military aircraft as they were taking off from the airport runways. Military and civilian flights have been suspended until the pandemonium at the airport dies down and the airfields have been cleared of Afghan citizens desperate to enter the United States as refugees.
US President Joe Biden addressed the nation in a televised speech on Monday, admitting that the withdrawal process has been “hard and messy, and – yes – far from perfect” but confirming he stands behind his decision to withdraw nonetheless. Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told reporters the US military expects to regain order at the airport in Kabul soon, at which time the plan is to evacuate hundreds of people a day via plane. At this time, the US has warned the Taliban not to attack US aircraft leaving the airport, and the Taliban has agreed.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NBC NEWS
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