US Embassy issues a security alert shortly after the Taliban claimed to have captured Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city
- Without US support, Afghanistan’s military has quickly wilted in the face of the Taliban threat.
- US embassy in Kabul reported that surrendering Afghan troops have been executed by Taliban.
- US intelligence officials predict that the Taliban will control Kabul sometime within the next several weeks to six months.
US Embassy in Kabul has urged all US citizens to leave Afghanistan immediately, using all available commercial flight options, offering to loan cash to Americans unable to afford plane tickets home if necessary.
“The US Embassy urges US citizens to leave Afghanistan immediately using available commercial flight options,” read a security alert from the embassy on Thursday.
The embassy offered assistance with immigrant visas for foreign family members.
The security alert went shortly after the Taliban claimed to have captured Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city. Earlier, they claimed victory in the city of Ghazni, 150km (95 miles) from the capital. Ghazni is the 10th Afghan provincial capital to fall to the Taliban since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan began in May.
The pullout is expected to be complete by the end of August, and US intelligence officials predict that the Taliban will control the capital sometime within the next several weeks to six months.
Several hundred US troops remain stationed in Kabul, at the embassy and at the city’s airport. However, embassy employees who can perform their work remotely were already advised in April to leave, with the State Department citing “increasing violence and threat reports.”
Without US support, Afghanistan’s military has quickly wilted in the face of the Taliban threat. Troops stationed near the country’s frontiers have been driven across Afghanistan’s borders and into neighboring countries, and earlier on Thursday the US embassy in Kabul reported that surrendering Afghan troops have been executed and their military and civilian leaders unlawfully detained by Taliban forces.
The embassy described executions as “deeply disturbing,” adding that they “could constitute war crimes.”
Though US-mediated peace talks are currently underway in Qatar, a spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani said on Monday that the group is only interested in “trying to grab power by force,” while Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Wednesday that the group has “never yielded to any foreign pressure tactics before and we do not plan to capitulate any time soon either.”