The Pentagon confirmed on Tuesday that “several hundred” American soldiers have left Afghanistan after completing their mission at the Kabul airport, and ruled out that this will affect the evacuation and withdrawal operation from that country that Washington expects to conclude next August 31.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that these are personnel from headquarters, maintenance and other support functions who were “scheduled to leave and whose mission at the airport was completed.”
Kirby defended the decision as “prudent and efficient” force management and clarified that it “will have no impact on the mission at hand.”
He also pointed out that commanders on the ground are empowered to “make adjustments as they see fit, when they deem appropriate.”
Washington had to reinforce its military presence in Afghanistan to secure Kabul airport since the Taliban came to power.
U.S. President Joe Biden told his G7, European Union (EU), NATO and UN partners on Tuesday that his country “is on track” to complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan by the August 31 deadline.
Biden participated in a virtual meeting with his partners today, where European allies failed to convince him to extend the evacuation timetable beyond that date.
The United States has been forced to accelerate the evacuation process of its nationals and allies in Afghanistan by the rapid takeover by the Taliban, who seized control of Kabul on August 15.