UPDATED 7:52 AM PT – Monday, August 16, 2021
According to t he State Department, all staff has been evacuated from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. In a statement Sunday, spokesman Ned Price announced all embassy staff is now on the premises of Hamid Karzai International Airport and under protection of the military.
The U.S. has taken over air traffic control at the airport, however, all evacuation flights have been suspended as forces try to clear the airfield. Thousands of Afghans have descended on the airport seeking to escape the Taliban’s takeover and hundreds are said to have made their way onto the runway.
The United States joins dozens of countries in calling on all parties in Afghanistan to respect and facilitate the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country. https://t.co/DjOmg3D85v
— Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) August 16, 2021
Meanwhile, more U.S. troops are heading back to Afghanistan in a desperate attempt to safeguard the remaining U.S. interests in the country. On Sunday, the Pentagon reportedly authorized the deployment of another 1,000 U.S. military personnel to Afghanistan from the 82nd Airborne Division. The troops will assist in evacuating U.S. diplomats and civilians amid the takeover of the capital city.
This decision came after Joe Biden directed the deployment of 1,000 troops on Saturday, which now brings the total number sent back to the country to 6,000. How quickly and safely the U.S. evacuation will proceed, however, remains to be seen.