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US says it has ‘secured’ Kabul airport & completed evacuation of its embassy amid Taliban takeover

US says it has ‘secured’ Kabul airport & completed evacuation of its embassy amid Taliban takeover
The US embassy in Afghanistan, which has been subject to a frantic evacuation effort that saw military helicopters flying staffers to safety, has been evacuated to Kabul airport, the State Department has reported.

“We can confirm that the safe evacuation of all embassy personnel is now complete,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said late on Sunday.

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The hasty evacuation of US embassy workers and local personnel was prompted by the rapid advances of the Taliban, which entered Kabul on Sunday, declaring victory in the 20-year war as the US-backed Afghan president fled the country.

The American flag was taken from the embassy and has been evacuated with the embassy staffers hunkering down in the airport, AP reported, citing a State Department official. 

As the militants were taking over a range of key locations in the city, including the presidential palace, thousands of Afghans rushed to Hamid Karzai International Airport in the hope of boarding commercial flights. The exodus resulted in massive traffic jams and chaotic scenes at the airport. At one point, gunshots rang out at the facility, prompting the suspension of all commercial air traffic while the evacuation proceeded in the military part of the airport. 

Amid fears that the situation may spiral out of control, the US said it would deploy an additional 1,000 servicemen to secure the airport’s perimeter within the next two days to allow for the evacuation of American citizens and Afghan allies. The move would bring the number of US troops involved in assisting an “orderly and safe drawdown of US personnel” to 6,000. 

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Late on Sunday, the US State Department announced that the airport had been secured by US forces.

“All embassy personnel are located on the premises of Hamid Karzai International Airport, whose perimeter is secured by the US military,” Price said.

Also on rt.com Taliban spokesman says Afghan war is over, militants convinced ‘foreign forces won’t repeat failed experience in Afghanistan’

In one of its first statements since taking power, the Taliban vowed to ensure the safety of international citizens and diplomatic missions. Speaking to Al Jazeera Mubasher TV from within the palace, a Taliban spokesman said that the group would not seek confrontation with foreign powers, warning them against invading Afghanistan and pledged to engage in dialogue to alleviate the “concerns” of the international community.

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