Soldiers will evacuate personnel as Taliban surges
TRENTON, Canada (AA) – Canadian, American and British troops were on standby Friday, ready to head to Afghanistan to evacuate embassy personnel as the Taliban overruns key areas of the country.
The Pentagon said Thursday it will send 3,000 troops within 48 hours, while Britain officials said 600 troops would be dispatched.
Canada has not officially confirmed it would send troops or how many, but the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) said an unnamed defense source said troops would be sent.
The source is anonymous because the person was not authorized to speak on the matter. The Associated Press (AP) also used an unnamed source to verify the dispatch of troops.
Special forces from Canada will aid in the evacuation of staff at its Embassy in Kabul, said the source said. The Americans and British are there to do the same task at their Afghani embassies.
“Our first responsibility has always been protecting the safety and the security of our citizens serving in Afghanistan, and around the world,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a briefing, according to Newsweek.
The allies are alarmed at the speed of the Taliban gaining territory after the US said it will pull its forces out of the beleaguered country.
But Price insisted that the US is not leaving the Afghanis to fend for themselves.
“This is not abandonment,” he told Newsweek. “This is not an evacuation. This is not a wholesale withdrawal.”
“What this is, is a reduction in the size of our civilian footprint,” he said.
All three countries are relocating thousands of Afghanis who helped them during their time in Afghanistan and who are considered traitors by the Taliban and are marked for death.