Hundreds of foreign troops to stay in Kabul to stop Taliban takeover
Hundreds of foreign troops will remain in Afghanistan as part of US plans to prevent a Taliban capture of the capital, The Sun reported on Wednesday.
A Turkish garrison will be deployed near Kabul airport and 600 US marines and unspecified number of British troops could be deployed to guard Washington's embassy, according to the report, which cited unnamed civilian and military sources.
The sources who spoke to The Sun described the airport as "key", and that without access to it "Kabul crumbles".
They added that Ankara is reluctant to have its troops deployed near Kabul alone, as per Washington's plan.
The report will likely fuel growing fears among observers and Afghans themselves that the insurgent group will target the capital in an attempt to launch a comeback.
Hundreds of foreign troops are expected to stay in Afghanistan long after Biden’s deadline to withdraw by 9/11, according to senior western sources.— Jerome Starkey (@jeromestarkey) May 25, 2021
Violence has soared in recent weeks as the Taliban escalates their offensive to the east and west of Kabul. Meanwhile, Washington and allied forces are in the final stages of removing their remaining troops from Afghanistan ahead of US President Joe Biden's September 9th withdrawal deadline.
On Tuesday, Australia announced it was closing its Afghanistan embassy, expressing fears over the "increasingly uncertain security environment."
A foreign defence official in Kabul has told AFP that several other foreign embassies will follow suit in the coming weeks or months.
Key among the concerns of foreign missions is ensuring the security of Kabul airport, the only emergency route out of the country for Western diplomats and humanitarian workers.