Taliban fighters are “making an attempt to isolate” Afghanistan’s capital metropolis, the Pentagon stated Friday — amid fears that they might assault Kabul inside days.
A blitz by the Islamic extremists led to the seize of 4 provincial capitals Friday, with Pul-e-Alam, the capital of Loghar province, the most recent to fall.
That transfer put the Taliban simply 30 miles away from Kabul, the place the primary parts of a US Marine Corps battalion landed to assist in evacuation efforts.
“Kabul just isn’t proper now in an imminent menace setting, however clearly…should you simply have a look at what the Taliban has been doing, you’ll be able to see that they’re making an attempt to isolate Kabul,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stated throughout a information briefing.
Concern is mounting that the Taliban might transfer towards Kabul inside days, a US protection official informed Reuters.
Resistance from Afghan forces collapsed amid Taliban features that included seizing Kandahar and Herat — the nation’s second- and third-largest cities, respectively — with particular person troopers, navy models and even complete divisions surrendering to the insurgents.
Consequently, the Taliban picked up extra weaponry and autos with which to gas their onslaught, the velocity and scale of which has shocked Afghans and the US-led alliance.
In simply the previous week, the Taliban has taken over greater than half of the nation’s provincial capitals and now controls about two-thirds of Afghanistan, together with its complete south.
Insurgents have additionally surrounded Mazar-I-Sharif, a conventional anti-Taliban stronghold within the north that’s one in every of solely three main cities not but overrun.
In Kabul, US helicopters buzzed backwards and forwards between the airport and the sprawling diplomatic compound within the closely fortified “Inexperienced Zone,” harking back to the airlifts from the US Embassy that preceded the 1975 fall of Saigon that ended the Vietnam Conflict.
Kirby stated many of the 3,000 troops ordered to Kabul by President Biden can be in place by Sunday and “will be capable to transfer 1000’s per day” out of Afghanistan.
“Capability just isn’t going to be an issue,” he added.
Along with these troops, one other 4,500 to five,000 had been being despatched to bases within the Persian Gulf, with 1,000 heading to Kuwait to hurry up visa processing for Afghan translators, their households and others who worry retribution from the Taliban for serving to the US throughout its almost 20-year occupation following the Sept. 11 terror assaults.
The opposite 3,500 to 4,000 troopers, from a fight brigade of the US Military’s 82nd Airborne Division, will probably be stationed in Kuwait on standby “in case we’d like much more” troops in Kabul, Kirby stated.
With Put up wires