U.S. to Reduce Kabul Embassy to Core Diplomatic Presence, State Department Says

U.S. to Reduce Kabul Embassy to Core Diplomatic Presence, State Department Says

16:19 - Officials cite deteriorating security situation as Taliban seizes Afghan territory; U.S. military to assist in evacuation

The U.S. will significantly cut the size of its diplomatic presence at the Embassy in Afghanistan, the State Department said Thursday, amid fresh concerns that the rapidly deteriorating security situation will make it more difficult to evacuate personnel if the government falls following the American pullout of forces.

The U.S. is expected to pull thousands of personnel out of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, according to U.S. officials. The embassy remains open at its current location, hosting only a core diplomatic contingent, said State Department spokesman Ned Price.

“We are going to a smaller diplomatic presence, given the security situation,” he said.

About 5,000 civilians and military personnel are based at the embassy and at the nearby Hamid Karzai International Airport. The reductions are expected to include American diplomatic personnel and contractors, some Afghans and nationals of third countries who provide security and other logistical support to the massive complex.

U.S. military aircraft will be used to assist in the evacuation of staff who will be leaving Afghanistan. Mr. Price declined to say whether the U.S. Embassy location would move to Kabul airport, where an emergency evacuation could more readily take place if necessary.

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