As the Taliban took control of the eastern city of Jalalabad on Sunday, the jittery Afghan capital Kabul is now isolated as the country's only big urban area in government hands.
Amidst the grim situation, the US Embassy in Kabul has instructed its personnel to destroy sensitive materials as well as items "which could be misused in propaganda efforts," as part of the "Emergency Destruction Services", India Today reports.
The management notice sent to embassy staff reportedly stated that there would be a variety of means to destroy these materials, including burn bins, a disintegrator, an incinerator and a compacter and heavy-duty equipment.
"Drawdowns at our diplomatic posts around the world follow a standard operating procedure designed to minimize our footprint across various categories, including staffing, equipment, and supplies. Embassy Kabul is conducting their drawdown in accordance with this standard operating procedure," the report quoted a State Department spokesperson as saying.
It should be noted that earlier today (15 August), the Taliban captured Jalalabad, the last major city outside of Kabul held by the country's increasingly isolated central government.
With this, the Taliban has moved closer to retaking full control of Afghanistan as it leaves the country's central government in control of just Kabul and seven other provincial capitals out of 34.
According to reports, Taliban militants are now just 11 km away from the capital city. Fears are now rapidly increasing that the Islamist terror outfit may launch an assault on Kabul anytime soon.
The US Embassy has urged its citizens to leave the country while scaling back its presence. The US has rushed 5,000 troops to secure the airport and help evacuate American diplomatic personnel as the Taliban closed in on the city.
Overnight, the near constant buzz of helicopters hung over central Kabul as the Green Zone that contained much of the foreign presence emptied out. Many embassies have closed or relocated to the military base in the airport.
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