U.S. Marines arrived in Kabul on Saturday as part of a 3,000-troop force reinforcement to secure an airlift of U.S. Embassy personnel and Afghan allies as the Taliban nears recapturing the state, AP reports.
The big picture: The majority of the 3,000 U.S. troops — two battalions of Marines and one of Army soldiers — are set to arrive by the end of the weekend, per AP.
- A group of Marines also arrived in Kabul on Friday, per AP.
- The troops' mission is expected to be complete by the end of the month, but may be extended if the U.S. embassy in Kabul is threatened by the Taliban.
- The reinstatement of U.S. troops in Afghanistan comes after President Biden set a deadline of Aug. 31 for fully withdrawing combat forces from the region.
State of play: The Taliban have captured more than half of Afghanistan's provincial capitals over the last week as insurgents continue their lightning offensive, threatening to isolate Kabul and topple the Afghan government.
- Jalalabad and Kabul are the only major cities still under government control and officials fear Jalalabad could fall within hours.
- "Clearly from their actions, it appears as if they are trying to get Kabul isolated,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said during a press conference on Friday, per AP.
- The Taliban on Saturday swept through the capitals of Paktika (Sharana) and Logar (Pul-e Alam).
Go deeper: Mapped: The Taliban’s lightning offensive to take over Afghanistan