Marine vanguard lands in Kabul as US speeds up evacuations

National & World News

In this Jan. 15, 2018, file photo, U.S. Marines watch during the change of command ceremony at Task Force Southwest military field in Shorab military camp of Helmand province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini, File)

WASHINGTON (Associated Press) — The first forces of a Marine battalion have arrived in Kabul to stand guard as the U.S. speeds up evacuation flights for some American diplomats and thousands of Afghans, spurred by a lightning Taliban offensive that increasingly is isolating Afghanistan’s capital.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby says “elements” of a battalion are now in Kabul. They are the vanguard of three Marine and Army battalions that the U.S. is sending to the city by the end of the weekend for temporary deployment.

The Taliban, emboldened by the imminent end of the U.S. combat mission in the country, took four more provincial capitals Friday, heightening fears they would move soon on the capital, which is home to millions of Afghans.

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