There are approximately 2,500 US troops at the airport currently, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said during an off-camera briefing on Monday.
Over the next 24 hours, the Department of Defense expects additional forces to arrive “from both the 82nd Airborne Division and battalions from a marine expeditionary unit,” Kirby said. Once those additional forces arrive, there will be about 3,000 US troops at the airport by tomorrow, he said.
The rough number, in the next two or three days once additional forces that have been authorized by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrive at Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA), will be about 6,000 US troops.
“Two to three days from now, we’re still looking at roughly 6,000. Again, the secretary authorized the third battalion now to go in, but I think we still think the numbers will roughly shake out to around 6,000,” Kibry said.
“We will continue to expand our security presence as needed,” Kirby said.
Austin authorized a third battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division brigade combat team that was headed to Kuwait to head to HKIA airport instead.
“They will flow in immediately and they will be there in coming days,” Kirby said.