According to a report from Politico, the US is planning for a full withdrawal from its embassy in Kabul as the city is increasingly under threat of a Taliban take over. Sources told Politico that US Central Command sees a complete evacuation of the embassy as “inevitable.”
The US has already deployed 3,000 troops that are due to arrive in Kabul soon to help evacuate some diplomatic staff. When the move was announced, the State Department portrayed it as only a drawdown and insisted the embassy would stay open. But behind the scenes, the US appears to be accepting reality.
The embassy has directed its staff to destroy sensitive materials, including documents that feature American flags that could be used for propaganda. “Please also include items with embassy or agency logos, American flags, or items which could be misused in propaganda efforts,” an embassy notice said, according to CNN.
There have been reports that say the Biden administration is considering moving the embassy to the Kabul airport, where the 3,000 US troops are being deployed to facilitate the evacuation. Only time will tell if the US tries to leave some sort of diplomatic mission or chooses to completely withdraw from Afghanistan.
The Taliban continued to capture major cities on Friday, including Kandahar, the country’s second-largest city. The Taliban now controls all of southern Afghanistan and could Isolate Kabul even sooner than the 30-day prediction the US made this week. A diplomatic source told CNN that an intelligence assessment indicates Kabul could be isolated in as soon as 72 hours.
The US has also deployed about 1,000 troops to Qatar to help process visas for Afghan interpreters and an entire infantry brigade combat brigade of some 4,000 soldiers to Kuwait to stand by for a possible Afghanistan deployment. There are about 4,000 civilian personnel at the embassy, including 1,400 US citizens.