US Asks Taliban to ‘Spare’ Its Embassy, Sends 3,000 Troops to Evacuate It
The Empire down to pleading, begging, and bribing
The US is sending about 3,000 troops to Afghanistan to help evacuate some personnel from the US embassy in Kabul as the Taliban is making rapid gains across the country.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the US is sending three infantry battalions that are due to arrive at the airport in Kabul within 48 hours. Additionally, an entire infantry brigade combat team is being sent to Kuwait to be put on stand by that could also be deployed to Afghanistan, and 1,000 troops are being deployed to Qatar to process visas for Afghan interpreters who worked for the US. In total, the US is deploying 8,000 troops to the Gulf and Afghanistan.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said the US would be “further reducing our civilian footprint in Kabul” but insisted that the embassy was not closing. He said there will be a “drawdown” of diplomatic personnel, but did not specify how many people are expected to leave. There are about 4,000 civilian personnel at the embassy, including 1,400 US citizens.
The US embassy in Kabul issued a warning to US citizens in Afghanistan on Thursday to leave the country immediately. “Given the security conditions and reduced staffing, the embassy’s ability to assist US citizens in Afghanistan is extremely limited even within Kabul,” a notice on the embassy’s website said.
As Afghanistan continues to fall apart at the seams, the Taliban invasion of Kabul appears imminent, and the odds of the Ghani government handling that attack are not good. This has the US considering what to do about its embassy there.
Early in the day, officials talked openly about the idea that the embassy would be relocated to the Kabul Airport, to make it easier to evacuate outright if the security situation gets any worse. The situation getting worse seems inevitable.
Indeed, the Biden Administration is sending some 3,000 troops to Kabul to facilitate the evacuation, and is planning to remove all but the core staff . The troops are scheduled to arrive within 48 hours.
Even that may not be enough, however, and negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad is turning to the Taliban to try to prevail upon them to spare the US Embassy from attack if and when Kabul gets hit.
The exchange here is that the Taliban would promise not to attack the embassy, and that the US would keep open the possibility of giving foreign aid to the Taliban government in the future. The US, of course, did provide aid to the Taliban before the invasion and occupation.
That this is publicly being put on the table at all is interesting, as US officials talking about the possible evacuation earlier in the day were insisting that if the Taliban took over Afghanistan “with guns” they’d never be eligible for US aid.
That’s not a total shock, as the US historically throws aid around to almost everyone for the sake of influence. Still, holding it out publicly to the Taliban mid-takeover underscores how cynically they view the fall of Afghanistan for the sake of aid. US law would frown upon sending aid to the Taliban militants after the takeover, but as has been the case after recent coups in places like Egypt, what the law says doesn’t always impact policy.