World U.S. Tells Embassy Staff to Leave Afghanistan Unless Job Needs Them to Physically Remain in Kabul
Officials say carrier to help protect Afghanistan pullout
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon has decided to keep an aircraft carrier in the Middle East to help provide protection for American and coalition troops during their planned withdrawal from Afghanistan in coming weeks, U.S. defense officials said Friday. Also, two U.S. Air Force bombers will be deployed to Afghanistan as part of the pre-pullout bolstering of security. The moves back up Pentagon officials' public assurances that U.S. forces will be prepared to meet whatever resistance the Taliban might present during the withdrawal of more than 10,000 U.S. and coalition troops starting after May 1. About 2,500 to 3,500 of those troops are American.
The U.S. State Department said it ordered embassy staff in Kabul, Afghanistan, to leave the country unless their jobs require them to physically remain there in an updated Afghanistan travel advisory on its website.
The Tuesday order came as the U.S. is preparing for a full troop withdrawal of Afghanistan by September 11 under President's decision and also added that U.S. citizens who wish to leave Afghanistan should "leave as soon as possible on available commercial flights."
CIA head said to have made unannounced trip to Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — CIA Director William Burns made a recent unannounced visit to Kabul, a senior politician and a well-placed public figure told The Associated Press, as concerns mount about Afghanistan's capability to fight terrorism once the U.S. has withdrawn its remaining troops by summer. Separately, a senior former Afghan security official deeply familiar with the country's counterterrorism program said two of six units trained and run by the CIA to track militants have already been transferred to Afghan control. The three men spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss sensitive security issues with the media.
"U.S. Embassy personnel are restricted from traveling to all locations in Kabul except the U.S. Embassy and other U.S. government facilities unless there is a compelling U.S. government interest in permitting such travel that outweighs the risk," the State Department's travel advisory update said. "Additional security measures are needed for any U.S. government employee travel and movement through Afghanistan."
"The U.S. Embassy's ability to provide routine and emergency services to U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is severely limited, particularly outside of Kabul. Evacuation options from Afghanistan are extremely limited due to the lack of infrastructure, geographic constraints, and the volatile security situation," the notice added.
Rejected Afghan interpreters 'facing death' after UK exit
Campaigners say many interpreters fired for trivial reasons are being unfairly barred from the UK.Now in his early 30s, he is one of hundreds of Afghans who worked with British forces as interpreters and support staff, and who may now be targeted by the militants as a result. They fear the risk will only increase when foreign forces pull out this year.
The orders did not specify how many embassy staffers in Kabul had to leave. Typically, these commands apply to non-essential personnel, according to the Associated Press.
The State Department advises against traveling to Afghanistan due to "COVID-19, crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict."
As Monday, the World Health Organization () has recorded 59,225 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Afghanistan since January 3, with 2,598 deaths.
For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:
The State Department order came just two days after America's top general in Afghanistan said thehad begun closing down operations in the country and that Afghanistan's security forces had to be ready to take over.
While the official start to the withdrawal of Washington's 2,500 to 3,500 troops and's 7,000 allied forces is May 1, General Austin Miller said the pullout had already begun.
US orders drawdown of government employees from Afghanistan embassy
The State Department on Tuesday ordered the departure of government employees from the US Embassy in Kabul "whose functions can be performed elsewhere" as the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan gets underway. © Joe Raedle/Getty Images U.S. Marines conduct an operation to clear a village of Taliban fighters in July 2009 in Mian Poshteh, Afghanistan.
The U.S. military and NATO will be shipping some military equipment out of Afghanistan while deciding what would remain behind with the Afghan Defense and Security Force, he said.
In February last year, the U.S. military began closing its smaller bases. In mid-April, the Biden administration announced that the final phase of the withdrawal would begin May 1 and be completed before September 11.
Future of Afghan women and girls hangs in balance as U.S. withdraws .
Nearly twenty years since the U.S. invaded and toppled the Taliban regime, women are bracing themselves to defend the gains they have made in public and private life.The 16-year-old, a student at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music in Kabul, hopes to one day compose a final movement for her piece, which reflects the struggle of her female compatriots. But a happy ending for Afghan women feels more remote by the day, and Karimi’s piece remains unfinished.