U.S. officials completely abandoning the embassy in Kabul amid the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan.
The U.S. plans to evacuate hundreds of personnel and officials from the embassy within 72 hours as staff rush to burn sensitive documents and prepare to abandon the embassy to the Taliban for the time being.
“The withdrawal of embassy personnel marks a rapid acceleration of the process that had only been announced on Thursday, and is a situation that many State Department security officials expected would have to happen given the speed with which the Taliban has gained territory in Afghanistan in recent days,” CNN reported.
“Most of the American diplomats will go to the airport in Kabul, the capital, and then fly back to the US,” the outlet continued. “A small number of core personnel, including the top US diplomat in the country, will remain at the Kabul airport for now, the sources said. This means that the US Embassy in Kabul will be shuttered — at least for the time being — by Tuesday.”
The U.S. had previously planned to evacuate most from the embassy while leaving a core group of dignitaries in place. That plan was scrapped, however, after the Taliban swept through Afghanistan in a blitz that saw the fall of multiple major Afghan cities within days. The Taliban also took over the former U.S. military base at Bagram Air Base. The air base was turned over to the Afghan government last month as the U.S. worked towards pulling out the country. As The Daily Wire reported:
The Taliban took control of Bagram Air Base on Sunday, a former American airbase that the U.S turned over to the Afghanistan government last month.
The Taliban have reportedly released thousands of prisoners that were held at Bagram, including members of al Qaeda, the terror group that carried out the 9-11 attacks and prompted the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Bagram was under control of the U.S. military for roughly two decades before leaving it in control of the Afghan military in July as the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan.
“The Taliban claims it overran Bagram Air Base and freed prisoners. Many high-value detainees were located there, including members of Al Qaeda. This will reverberate for years to come,” said Bill Roggio, Long War Journal editor, and terror analyst.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday, effectively leaving Afghanistan in control of the Taliban, a major victory for the terror group the U.S. and Afghan governments have sought to contain for the past two decades. Taliban militants entered Kabul on Sunday and are in the process of negotiating for a complete takeover of the country. As The Daily Wire reported:
Taliban leaders are reportedly at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, negotiating a swift “transfer of power” from the Afghan government in place.
Residents of Kabul and refugees who took shelter in the Afghan capital city over the last several weeks as the Taliban seized power in the country’s southern provinces are now trying to flee the city, but finding roads blocked and airports now under Taliban control.
“Taliban fighters entered Kabul on Sunday and sought the unconditional surrender of the central government, officials said, as Afghans and foreigners alike raced for the exit, signaling the end of a 20-year Western experiment aimed at remaking Afghanistan,” The Associated Press noted.