US President Joe Biden warned the Taliban of a violent military response if American interests were attacked, as he warned them against any action that endangers American employees, and Biden raised the number of American forces that would reach Afghanistan To 5 thousand soldiers, while the official spokesman for the Taliban said that the movement is keen to secure funds, property and public facilities.
On Saturday, US President Joe Biden raised the number of US forces sent to Afghanistan to participate in the evacuation of embassy staff and Afghan civilians, warning the Taliban movement advancing to Kabul not to obstruct this mission.
Biden said that after consulting with his national security team, he decided to send “about five thousand” US soldiers, ie two thousand more than the scheduled number, explaining that these soldiers will be deployed in Afghanistan to organize the evacuation and end the American mission after twenty years of field operations.
He warned the Taliban that any action that “endangers American personnel and our mission will face a swift and strong US military response.”
Biden’s comments came after the insurgents took control of Mazar-i-Sharif, the largest city in northern Afghanistan, in the midst of their advance to Kabul.
On Saturday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani pledged to “not allow the war imposed on the people to cause more deaths,” and said that consultations were underway in the pursuit of an end to the war, without giving further details.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who took part in Biden’s advice, spoke by phone with Ghani on Saturday, a spokesman said.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Blinken and Ghani “discussed the urgency of diplomatic and political efforts to reduce the level of violence.”
Biden said Blinken would hold talks with “key regional players” about the Taliban’s accelerated advance into Kabul.
The US Central Command announced Saturday that it intends to evacuate about 30,000 people before the completion of the military withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 31, the date set by Biden.
Biden was criticized for the decision to withdraw, but he said he had no other choice, blaming his predecessor, Donald Trump, for part of the responsibility.
“When I took office, I inherited an agreement made by my predecessor,” Biden said. “He put the Taliban in the strongest military position since 2001 and set May 1, 2021 as the date for the departure of US forces.”
“I had to choose between moving forward with the agreement with a brief extension to remove our forces and those of our allies safely, and between strengthening our presence and sending more forces to fight again in a new civil conflict in the country,” he said.
Biden said, “I am the fourth president to take office in light of the presence of American forces in Afghanistan,” stressing, “I will not bequeath this war to a fifth president.”
On the other hand, the Afghan Vice President considered that the West chose to lose in Afghanistan and abroad.
Security sources in Kabul revealed to Al Arabiya about expectations of the imminent resignation of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Al-Arabiya sources said that there are negotiations between the Taliban and tribal leaders to hand over the city of Jalalabad without a fight.
This comes as local officials announced that the Taliban had taken control of Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province and the fourth largest city in Afghanistan in terms of population.
The officials added that violent confrontations took place between the Taliban fighters and the Afghan government forces, which ended with the government forces fleeing towards the border with Uzbekistan.
The progress of the Taliban comes after its control over many areas in the north, west and south of Afghanistan, and the movement’s elements approached the entrances to the capital, Kabul, after tightening control over the areas surrounding the capital.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the Taliban to stop their offensive in Afghanistan immediately, warning that “the situation in Afghanistan is getting out of control.”
The fighting has also raised fears of a refugee crisis and rollback of human rights gains. A UN official said about 400,000 civilians had been forced to leave their homes since the start of the year, including 250,000 since May.
Families are camped out in a Kabul park, homeless after fleeing violence in other parts of the country.
Under the Taliban, women could not work, girls were not allowed to go to school, and women had to cover their faces and be accompanied by a male relative if they wanted to leave their homes. In early July, Taliban fighters ordered nine women to stop working in a bank.