After committing to withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden backpedaled slightly on Saturday, saying in a statement that he would deploy 5,000 additional troops to the country in response to the “risk from the Taliban advance.”
In his statement, Biden noted that despite the troop deployment, he still intended to end the American presence in the country. “An endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me,” he said. He called the effort part of an “orderly and safe drawdown.”
Biden’s announcement comes after the Taliban took over swaths of the country after the U.S.’s withdrawal in the country. The group now controls about half of the country’s provincial capitals, and Axios reports that the Biden administration is preparing for a fall of Kabul. The U.S., U.K., Germany, and other countries have said that they would evacuate much of their diplomatic staff in the country as the Taliban gains more territory.
Biden announced the troop deployment amid a list of four other items related to the troop withdrawal in Afghanistan, which include directing Secretary of State Tony Blinken to “support President Ghani and other Afghan leaders as they seek to prevent further bloodshed and pursue a political settlement,” and conveying to Taliban representatives in Doha that “any action on their part on the ground in Afghanistan, that puts U.S. personnel or our mission at risk there, will be met with a swift and strong U.S. military response.”
“Over our country’s 20 years at war in Afghanistan, America has sent its finest young men and women, invested nearly $1 trillion dollars, trained over 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, equipped them with state-of-the- art military equipment, and maintained their air force as a part of the longest war in U.S. history,” Biden said in his statement. “One more year, or five more years, of U.S. military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country.”