Just months after President Joe Biden declared “America is back” as a world leader, his administration appears to be doing little as the Taliban war machine rages through Afghanistan, taking more than half of the country back by force amid the U.S. troop withdrawal.
“Where Biden is going to pay a bigger price is in terms of international credibility,” Madiha Afzal, a foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington told USA Today. “A collapsing Afghanistan badly undercuts his message of renewed American leadership. And it’s not only the decision to withdraw that undercut that message, but the administration’s muted and disconnected response to how fast things are unraveling in Afghanistan.”
The U.S. military announced Friday it is sending 3,000 troops into the war-torn nation to help evacuate civilians and U.S. diplomatic personnel in Kabul, the nation’s largest city and capital, from an expected Taliban takeover in as soon as 30 days.
Meanwhile, U.S. forces still in the country are providing some security to the capital, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Friday.
“These are the existing security elements that were already in Kabul,” Kirby said. “This comprises the [tactical] and lift aviation assets, infantry, security personnel, and some intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets that are already there at the airport.”
Another three battalions are moving locations from the U.S. Central Command to Kabul, including Marines with “lift sustainment and support capabilities,” a Marine expeditionary unit, and a U.S. army infantry unit.
“The rest of their forces will continue to flow over the next couple of days. And I expect that by the end of the weekend the bulk of the 3,000 [service members who are deploying] will be in place,” Kirby said. “This is a specific, narrowly focused, tailored mission to help with the safe, secure movement of the reduction of civilian personnel in Kabul, as well as to help support the acceleration of the special immigrant visa process by the State Department.”
This comes as Taliban forces swept through the south Friday, taking control of the second and third largest Afghanistan cities, Kandahar, and Herat, USA Today reported Friday.
Biden pledged to have U.S. troops out of the country by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., the event that sparked the United States to invade Afghanistan in 2001 seeking plot mastermind, and al-Qaida leader, Osama Bin Laden.
U.S. Navy seals killed Bin Laden during a raid at his compound in Pakistan in 2011, but troops have remained in Afghanistan since October 2001, two decades ago, making it the nation’s longest war, costing around $1 trillion and costing more than 2,000 American soldiers lives.