Aug. 13 (UPI) — President Joe Biden on Thursday ordered the deployment of 3,000 troops to Afghanistan to assist in the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, U.S. military officials announced.
The decision comes as Taliban fighters in Afghanistan are making greater gains and U.S. forces near the end of their withdrawal. The Taliban captured the provincial capital of Ghazni on Thursday — its 10th key takeover in recent weeks.
Defense Department press secretary John Kirby said the deployment was “about prudent preparation.”
“The secretary believes the safety and security of our people, not just American troops, but our allies and partners and our State Department colleagues is of paramount concern,” he said, referring to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. “He is not going to add additional risk to that safe movement.”
The deployment comprises three infantry battalions from the Army and Marines, Kirby said. The troops will arrive at Hamid Karzai International Airport within 24 hours to 48 hours.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul Thursday urged U.S. citizens to leave Afghanistan “immediately” using available commercial flight options in the face of rapid Taliban advances.