The United States ambassador in Afghanistan has fled the U.S. Embassy in Kabul for the airport, according to multiple news reports.
WASHINGTON (AP) — AP sources: US military evacuates acting US ambassador to Afghanistan from embassy to Kabul airport.
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) August 15, 2021
The ambassador fleeing the embassy came after Biden administration officials insisted the embassy would remain open.
According to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, the airport was “taking fire,” and Americans were instructed to “shelter in place” at the airport.
The Embassy’s security alert said:
Event: The security situation in Kabul is changing quickly including at the airport. There are reports of the airport taking fire; therefore we are instructing U.S. citizens to shelter in place.
U.S. citizens wanting assistance in departing the country should register for any option that might be identified to return to the United States, and must complete this Repatriation Assistance Request for each traveler in their group. Spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens in Afghanistan who are awaiting immigrant visas should also complete this form if they wish to depart. Please do so as soon as possible. You must complete this form even if you’ve previously submitted your information to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Do not call the U.S. Embassy in Kabul for details or updates about the flight. This form is the only way to communicate interest in flight options.
President Joe Biden, who left for vacation to Camp David on Thursday, ordered an additional 1,000 American troops to Kabul to assist in evacuating U.S. Embassy staff and Afghans applying for American visas, bringing the total of U.S. forces heading to Kabul up to 4,000, to assist the approximately 650 U.S. troops already there.
Earlier on Sunday, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. The collapse of the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan came at stunning speed. U.S. intelligence estimates had predicted a collapse over months, not days.
U.S. military officials up through Friday insisted a collapse was not “inevitable.”