American officials in Kabul, Afghanistan, are reportedly destroying sensitive documents at the U.S. embassy as Taliban forces close in on the city.
Documents and equipment, including computers and cell phones, are being destroyed as a majority of the staff there prepare to evacuate, Fox News reported Friday. NPR added that mail to the embassy has stopped and a small number of the staff are preparing to move to another location.
The situation at the US Embassy in #Kabul is more dire than what the State Department is saying. Mail has stopped. Nearly all employees are packing up and a very small number will head to another location. Staff are gearing up to destroy sensitive papers, computers, phones.
— Tom Bowman (@TBowmanNPR) August 13, 2021
The Taliban took three major cities in Afghanistan on Friday and are rapidly advancing toward the capital, Kabul. The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, called for a peaceful resolution Friday, highlighting humanitarian concerns and civilian violence taking place as the Taliban advances. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul tweeted Thursday that it was hearing reports of Taliban executions that were “deeply disturbing” and could be classified as war crimes. (RELATED: FLASHBACK: Biden Predicts Taliban Takeover In Afghanistan Is ‘Not Inevitable’)
Additional U.S. troops were deployed to the country to aid in the evacuation of the embassy Thursday. Nearly all of the American boots on the ground have been withdrawn from the country, and the Taliban has been rapidly moving in on the capital since President Joe Biden announced a complete American withdrawal earlier this year.
In addition to evacuating the embassy, the Biden administration has been trying to get Afghan collaborators who assisted the U.S. military out of the country. The Taliban has been hunting down and assassinating those who helped the U.S. as it captures more and more territory, in addition to executing Afghan military prisoners, media figures and government officials. (RELATED: Afghanistan President Blames US Troop Withdrawal For Worsening Security Amid Taliban Gains)
The U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, urged the international community not to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate government if it takes power by force earlier this week during talks in Doha, Qatar. Despite international pleas for a peaceful resolution, the militant group shows no signs of slowing down its onslaught against the unorganized and often-fleeing Afghan defense forces.