US plans to move embassy to Afghanistan and withdraw staff as more cities fall to Taliban

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The United States is also expected to withdraw personnel from its diplomatic outpost in the Afghan capital, the US and Western source said.

The U.S. official said options were being assessed in real time, but warned the situation remained fluid. They indicated that decisions are likely to evolve in the days and weeks to come given the rapidly evolving situation on the ground.

“There is obviously a radically different pace in the discussions currently underway. But there are a lot of different actions that need to be weighed right now,” the US official said.

The Western diplomatic source also described relocation to the airport as one of the possibilities being discussed, calling it “the most likely”. They said there was a lot of fast-track planning going on regarding the future broader diplomatic presence in Kabul, saying “the mood has changed but we are still not on the brink of collapse.”

Intelligence assessments warn Afghan capital could be cut off and collapse in coming months
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This source said that the United States could move to the airport so that it can get diplomats out of the country more quickly if it becomes necessary, and also because in the future it might be difficult to get from the embassy at the airport.

Biden’s national security team held calls and meetings on Thursday with what sources describe as a growing sense of urgency over the Taliban’s accelerating gains in Afghanistan.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin Thursday morning and spoke with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan as late as Wednesday evening to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, according to a source close to the discussions.

Senior DOD and military officials were in an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and review security plans if a withdrawal from the embassy is ordered, at least four officials said. DOD.

All officials described a sense of urgency about the meetings, with some officials having to cancel their scheduled times to attend.

This story is out and will be updated.

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