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US Sends Troops to Help Evacuate Embassy

With Taliban closing in on Kabul, administration asks that its diplomatic post be spared
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2021 3:35 PM CDT
US Sends Troops to Help Evacuate Embassy
US Ambassador Ross Wilson speaks during a news conference at the US Embassy in Kabul on July 30.   (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

(Newser) – If the Taliban successfully storm Kabul, the US is asking that they please spare the American Embassy. In the meantime, troops are being sent to Afghanistan to help evacuate Americans stationed at the embassy. Other diplomatic stations in the country already have been closed as the Taliban overrun the nation. The US recommended Americans not working for the government take commercial flights out on Thursday, the New York Times reports. The State Department issued a statement saying the US will continue to have diplomatic involvement with the Afghan government. "We are withdrawing our forces from Afghanistan, but we are not withdrawing from Afghanistan," the statement said. The Taliban have not answered the US about the embassy's security, so officials there are assessing how long they have to get out.

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These steps would indicate the US lacks faith in the security provided by the Afghan government, per the AP. Americans in the embassy reportedly are worried, as is the diplomatic corps in general; the head of the foreign service officers' union said about one-fourth of the corps served in Afghanistan or Iraq over the past 20 years. Those people are still emotionally connected to their old postings, Eric Rubin said. "There was a lot of sacrifice," he said. "Everyone who served there for the most part served without their families, and under difficult conditions, at times under mortar fire." It's been 20 years since Marines reclaimed a burned-out building in Kabul for the US Embassy. "If the military goes too early, it may be unnecessary, and it may cost you a lot politically," said former Ambassador Ronald Neumann. "If the diplomats wait too late, it looks like Saigon off the roof." (US officials say Kabul could fall in a month.)

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