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Afghanistan: US flag comes down from Kabul embassy amid evacuation

Taliban fighters entered the outskirts of the Afghan capital on Sunday, further tightening their grip on the country as panicked workers fled government offices and helicopters landed at the embassy.

AP Edited by: AP Kabul Published on: August 16, 2021 6:46 IST
Afghanistan Taliban crisis
Image Source : AP

A. U.S. Black Hawk military helicopter flies over the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021.

A State Department official says the American flag is no longer flying at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul amid evacuations from Afghanistan’s capital. The official tells The Associated Press that nearly all embassy personnel have been relocated to the city’s international airport.

The official says the flag itself is with embassy personnel, who are among thousands of Americans and others waiting for flights. The official was not authorized to discuss the details publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity

In a joint statement Sunday night, the State Department and the Pentagon say they are taking steps to secure the airport for safe departures by way of civilian and military flights.

The statement says the U.S. security presence will have expanded to nearly 6,000 troops over the next two days and will take over air traffic control.

Those leaving include American citizens who have been living in Afghanistan, locally employed staff of the U.S. mission in Kabul and their families, and other particularly vulnerable Afghan nationals.

Also part of the departure plan is thousands of Afghans eligible for U.S. special immigrant visas. Nearly 2,000 of those with special visas have arrived in the United States over the past two weeks.

Also Read: Biden team surprised by rapid Taliban gains in Afghanistan

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