The Defense Department is pushing in 650 troops from the Army’s Ranger Regiment to cover the Afghanistan withdrawal. The Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment already has some troops in the country as part of the ongoing Joint Special Operations deployment.

CNN was the first to report that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved the move last week. 

Furthermore, as part of the force protection, Austin approved the deployment of two B-52 bombers. They will join two more that are already deployed to Qatar as well as an AC-130 USAF Special Operations gunship. Austin also approved the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower’s deployment extension.

President Biden has announced that all U.S. troops will have withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11.

As U.S. and coalition troops withdraw from the farthest regions of Afghanistan’s southern and eastern areas, they’ll be more vulnerable to Taliban attacks. Having the Rangers and close air support on station would alleviate the threat. 

The Message to the Taliban Is Clear

If they attempt to attack withdrawing U.S. troops, the Rangers will not hesitate to eliminate the threat. The Taliban are intimately familiar with the Rangers and have suffered considerable casualties at their hands. Thus, it is no coincidence that Austin chose the Rangers who are among the world’s best light infantry. Furthermore, the AC-130s, B-52s, and the Eisenhower’s aircraft would give any enemy pause.

Nevertheless, there is no guarantee that the Taliban won’t attack.

Pentagon spokesman John F. Kirby wouldn’t confirm the details of the deployment. “We want to be careful about some elements of our ability to provide force protection, [but the] addition of posture in Afghanistan to assist with this drawdown” is to be expected.