The Pentagon will send another 1,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan to help secure Kabul’s airport following a mad rush on the runway as thousands of Afghan civilians attempted to flee the nation, the Defense Department’s top spokesperson said Monday.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin authorized the immediate deployment of the new troops to Kabul, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
The new influx of troops will increase the total number of American forces at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul from 2,500 to 3,000 by Tuesday morning, with a total 6,000 troops to be in the city in the coming days.
Kirby said the shuttering of the U.S. Embassy meant that the U.S. presence was now focused on the airport, where all incoming and outgoing flights have been paused until it is secure.
Videos and images have surfaced online showing massive groups of Afghan civilians frantically trying to leave the country — under Taliban rule as of Sunday — by storming the tarmac to catch flights out of Afghanistan. Some of the people in the crowds tried to hop onto moving planes.