The US is completely pulling out all personnel from the embassy in Kabul over the next 72 hours, including the top officials, according to two sources familiar with the situation.
This is a rapid acceleration of the process that was only announced on Thursday. It is a situation that many State Department security officials expected would have to happen as Taliban gains accelerated in recent days.
Most of the diplomats will go to the airport in Kabul and then fly back to America.
A small number of core personnel, including the top US diplomat in the country, will remain at Kabul’s airport for now, the sources said. This means that the US embassy in Kabul will be shuttered -- at least for the time being -- by Tuesday.
The other thing to note is that US officials have repeatedly been telling CNN over the last few days that the US doesn’t have great intelligence on the ground right now. This is one of the things that is fueling the decision to get these diplomats home because they really don’t know the precise dynamics of what is happening.
One of the major reasons for this is because the United States has withdrawn most of their troops -- those who were able to collect some intelligence -- and as one US defense official put it, this makes the United States blind in the face of some potential intelligence that they used to have.