The Marines have landed.
The first forces of a Marine battalion arrived in Kabul late Friday to provide protection as the US evacuates diplomats and thousands of Afghans while the Taliban bears down.
Saturday, the insurgent forces captured Pul-e-Alam, the capital of Logar province in Afghanistan, 40 miles south of Kabul and one of the gateways to the capital city.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said “elements” of a Marine battalion were now in Kabul, The Associated Press reported.
“They have arrived, their arrival will continue ’til tomorrow,” a US official told Reuters.
The troops that landed late Friday are the first of three Marine and Army battalions — about 3,000 soldiers and Marines — that the US is rushing to Kabul this weekend to help Americans and their Afghan colleagues get out.
Additional troops are heading to Kuwait as a back-up force.
Pul-e-Alam was the latest provincial capital to fall, a day after the Taliban took four others as the Islamist fighters swept across the country, often with little resistance from government troops. The swift advance has raised fears that they will soon reach Kabul, Afghanistan’s largest city.
“Clearly from their actions, it appears as if they are trying to get Kabul isolated,” Kirby said at a Pentagon briefing.