US to 'Take Over Air Traffic Control', Increase Troop Presence to 6,000 in Kabul Amid Evacuations
23:42 GMT 15.08.2021 (Updated: 01:58 GMT 16.08.2021)
© AP Photo / Mosa'ab ElshamyU.S military forces take part in a large scale drill as part of the African Lion military exercise, in Tantan, south of Agadir, Morocco, Friday, June 18, 2021. The U.S.-led African Lion war games, which have lasted nearly two weeks, stretched across Morocco, a key U.S, ally, with smaller exercises held in Tunisia and in Senegal, whose troops ultimately moved to Morocco. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)
© AP Photo / Mosa'ab Elshamy
With the Taliban* extremist movement taking control of the Afghanistan capital of Kabul and the majority of the country, all outposts have reportedly been blocked, leaving only the Kabul international airport open for those leaving or arriving to the country.
The US will establish control over air traffic in Kabul and increase its military presence to 6,000 troopers to secure the safe evacuation of US and allied personnel, according to a joint statement from the US Department of State and the Pentagon, issued on Sunday.
"Over the next 48 hours, we will have expanded our security presence to nearly 6,000 troops, with a mission focused solely on facilitating these efforts and will be taking over air traffic control," the statement reads.
US officials noted that "thousands of American citizens who have been resident in Afghanistan, as well as locally employed staff of the US mission in Kabul and their families and other particularly vulnerable Afghan nationals" would be taken from Afghanistan over the next several days.
American military are additionally prepared to evacuate "thousands of Afghans eligible for US Special Immigrant Visas, nearly 2,000 of whom have already arrived in the United States over the past two weeks."
© Photo : Twitter / @WhiteHouseThis morning, the President and Vice President met with their national security team and senior officials to hear updates on the draw down of our civilian personnel in Afghanistan, evacuations of SIV applicants and other Afghan allies, and the ongoing security situation in Kabul.
This morning, the President and Vice President met with their national security team and senior officials to hear updates on the draw down of our civilian personnel in Afghanistan, evacuations of SIV applicants and other Afghan allies, and the ongoing security situation in Kabul.
The situation at Kabul's international airport has deteriorated, as hundreds of people have been seen rushing out of terminals toward aircraft in an attempt to leave the country.
The airport is currently the only viable air facility, and all commercial flights have reportedly banned, starting from 15 August.
On Sunday, the Taliban carried out the final step of its startlingly rapid takeover, as the Islamic extremists seized the capital. The Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, fled the country the same day after relinquishing power. So far, the Taliban have reportedly seized control of almost all parts of the country.
On Saturday, US President Joe Biden ordered the deployment of an additional 1,000 American troopers, raising the total number of US military redeployed to the country to roughly 5,000. The move is reportedly to assist in the “orderly and safe drawdown” of American personnel and Afghans who have worked with the US mission.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.