President Joe Biden announced Saturday that he is deploying more troops to Afghanistan to ensure that U.S. personnel can be evacuated safely.
“Based on the recommendations of our diplomatic, military, and intelligence teams, I have authorized the deployment of approximately 5,000 U.S. troops to make sure we can have an orderly and safe drawdown of U.S. personnel and other allied personnel and an orderly and safe evacuation of Afghans who helped our troops during our mission and those at special risk from the Taliban advance,” the president said in a statement.
A U.S. defense official said the deployment included 1,000 newly approved troops from the 82nd Airborne Division.
Biden vowed to adhere to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
“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,” he said.
Besides the newly announced deployment, the Biden administration also committed to addressing future terrorist threats from Afghanistan and helping Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and other Afghan leaders to pursue a political settlement.
The president also warned the Taliban that the United States will take a strong military response if U.S. personnel are endangered in Afghan.
Biden made the announcement at a time when Taliban terrorists captured the major city of Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan on Saturday and drew closer to the capital of Kabul.
It was the latest important capture for the hardline militants, who have swept through the country in recent weeks as U.S.-led forces withdrew. Kabul and Jalalabad, in eastern Afghanistan, are now the only big cities not in Taliban hands.
Security forces from Mazar-i-Sharif were escaping toward the Uzbekistan border, Afzal Hadid, head of the Balkh provincial council, told Reuters. The city appeared to have fallen largely without a fight, although sporadic clashes continued nearby, he said.
Reuters contributed to the report.