US Forces Being "Rushed" To Kabul Airport As Embassy Evacuation Underway

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Aug 12, 2021 - 02:18 PM

update(2:18eastern): A CNN national security correspondent is reporting that hundreds of US embassy personnel in Kabul are preparing to be evacuated. The US Embassy Kabul has a total staff of thousands, including over 1,000 which are deemed "diplomats".

US troops are now being "rushed" by the Pentagon to the capital city's international airport amid a Taliban advance which is coming closer and closer. This is reportedly to assist in rapid evacuation efforts. State Department spokesman Ned Price has issued a statement, saying it's "not a full evacuation" at this point, but an evacuation of many personnel nonetheless.

This comes after reports earlier in the day Thursday suggested the US State Department is mulling the complete evacuation of the embassy at a moment the Taliban has already taken some 70% of the country, and is now a mere 90 miles away from the capital. 

Ned Price making the announcement of pending evacuation...

CNN further reports that the embassy may "relocate" to the confines of the more secure Karzai International Airport, which is largely protected by a contingency of Turkish troops. 

Kabul's international airport, via Reuters

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As Dave DeCamp of detailed earlier based on a report published by Politico Wednesday, the US is considering shuttering its embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, as the Taliban is making significant gains across the country. One source told Politico that the embassy could be evacuated by the end of the month.

The evacuation is just one option being considered, and the State Department said Tuesday that it is evaluating the security of the embassy on a "daily basis." The US ordered a drawdown of its diplomatic staff in Kabul at the end of April, right before the withdrawal of US troops started.

US Embassy Kabul, source: Department of State

Also on Wednesday, US officials told several media outlets that Kabul could fall to the Taliban within 90 days, based on a new intelligence assessment. The Taliban hasn’t moved to take Kabul yet, but a source told Reuters that the Taliban could "isolate" Kabul within 30 days.

There are currently about 650 US troops left in Afghanistan. President Biden said he will complete his withdrawal by August 31st, but the US plans to leave most of the remaining troops at the Kabul embassy, and the Pentagon has established a military command structure based out of the facility.

While the US is desperate to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan, if the diplomatic staff is forced to evacuate, the 650 troops will likely leave with them.

The US and Turkey have been negotiating a deal that would keep Turkish troops at the Kabul airport to secure it so US personnel can come and go.

Despite the Taliban gains, Turkey says it still wants to guard the airport, but no plan has been finalized.