“The current military mission will be short in time and limited in scope and focused in its objectives,” Biden said during his address to the nation Monday. “Get our people and our allies to safety as quickly as possible. And once we have completed this mission, we will conclude our military withdrawal. We will end America’s longest war after 20 long years of bloodshed.”
The comments come as the Taliban offensive has thrown the capital city of Kabul into chaos, forcing the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy and sending thousands of people streaming to the airport in hopes of being flown out of the country.
“I was asked to authorize and I did 6,000 U.S. troops to deploy to Afghanistan for the purpose of assisting in the departure of U.S. and allied civilian personnel from Afghanistan and to evacuate our Afghan allies and vulnerable Afghans to safety outside of Afghanistan,” Biden said. “Our troops are working to secure the airfield and ensure continued operation of both the civilian and military flights. We’re taking over air traffic control, we have safely shut down our embassy and transferred our diplomats.”
Biden said that the U.S. would be transporting “thousands of American citizens who have been living and working in Afghanistan,” as well as seeing to the “safe departure of the civilian personnel of our allies.”
The president also addressed the threat to troops and American citizens posed by the Taliban, promising to use overwhelming force if the Taliban attempt to “disrupt our operation.”
“American troops are performing this mission as professionally and as effectively as they always do. But it is not without risk,” Biden said.
“We have made it clear to the Taliban. If they attack our personnel or disrupt our operation, the U.S. presence will be swift and the response will be swift and forceful,” he continued. “We will defend our people with devastating force if necessary.”