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Troops En Route to Afghanistan Aim to Help Remove Civilians, Pentagon Official Says

Aug. 13, 2021 | BY Terri Moon Cronk , DOD News

U.S. Forces Afghanistan-Forward continue to provide security in Kabul, Afghanistan, at Hamid Karzai International Airport and at the U.S. Embassy, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby told reporters today during a briefing on the U.S. mission. 

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"These are the existing security elements that were already in Kabul," Kirby explained. "This comprises the [tactical] and lift aviation assets, infantry, security personnel and some intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets that are already there at the airport."

The troop movements that were announced yesterday are happening today, he said. Three battalions are preparing to move from their locations in the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility to Kabul: a Marine Corps battalion that was already pre-staged in the region and has lift sustainment and support capabilities and infantry; another Marine Corps infantry battalion from a Marine Expeditionary Unit; and a U.S. Army infantry battalion.

"The rest of their forces will continue to flow over the next couple of days. And I expect that by the end of the weekend the bulk of the 3,000 [service members who are deploying] will be in place," Kirby said.

Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby stands in front of a microphone.
Press Conference
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby briefs reporters at the Pentagon, Aug. 13, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Brittany Chase, DOD
VIRIN: 210813-D-BM568-1138F

The brigade combat team from the 82nd Airborne Division that is prepared to go to Kuwait is a Ready Reserve force, which is preparing to deploy, Kirby said, adding that the team would likely arrive in very short order.

Aircraft will support moving civilian personnel, he said, adding that U.S. Transportation Command is working on its plans and sourcing solutions with Air Mobility Command and Centcom to support the mission.

"This is a specific, narrowly focused, tailored mission to help with the safe, secure movement of the reduction of civilian personnel in Kabul, as well as to help support the acceleration of the special immigrant visa process by the State Department," Kirby emphasized.