Since President Biden ordered the withdrawal of troops out of Afghanistan, US officials have hinted that a small military presence could continue under the guise of protecting a diplomatic mission.
According to a report from The Sun, the US is considering keeping 600 Marines in Afghanistan to protect the US embassy. The report cited anonymous sources who also said the US wants Turkish troops to stay at the Kabul airport to protect it from the Taliban or other militant groups.
There are currently several hundred Turkish troops guarding the Kabul airport. On Tuesday, The New York Times also reported that the US wants Turkey to continue protecting the airport. US officials believe Turkey is looking for concessions from Washington in order for them to stay.
Last week, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said the US was working with some of its NATO allies on ways to secure the Kabul airport after the withdrawal so the US and other countries could keep embassies in Afghanistan.
Biden ordered the Afghanistan withdrawal to be completed by September 11th, but the Times report said the US and its coalition allies are on track to be done with the pullout by early to mid-July.
As the withdrawal is moving along, the Pentagon is scrambling for ways to maintain influence and assets in Afghanistan. Securing the Kabul airport to protect embassies could be the excuse the US military needs to keep personnel and equipment in the country.