President Joe Biden announced on Saturday he has authorized the deployment of 5,000 troops to Afghanistan amid the Taliban tightening control over the country.
“I have authorized the deployment of approximately 5,000 US troops to make sure we can have an orderly and safe drawdown of US 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,” Biden said in a statement.
The news comes after two days of silence from Biden and his administration, who have remained unwavering in their position that it was time for the United States to end the two-decade-long war.
Biden said the move was needed after he inherited a “tenuous situation” from former President Donald Trump, saying Trump cut a deal with the Taliban that put them in a stronger military position.
“When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor — which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019 — that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on U.S. forces,” Biden said. “Shortly before he left office, he also drew U.S. forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500.”
“Afghan leaders have to come together,” Biden said at the White House on Tuesday. We lost thousands to death and injury, thousands of American personnel. They’ve got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation.”
The Taliban has taken control of nearly two-thirds of Afghanistan and is moving rapidly to take over Kabul, which left Biden to warn the Taliban that any actions that put U.S. personnel at risk “will be met with a swift and strong US military response.”
The United States will, at the same time, pursue a political settlement to the bloodshed, he said.
The President’s authorization includes the 3,000 troops ordered earlier this week to help assist with evacuations, which will provide security at the embassy and at Kabul’s airport.
Despite sending a surge of U.S. troops into Afghanistan and the Taliban quickly making ground on several key cities, Biden defended his decision to withdraw troops.
“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.