KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (NBC) – The Taliban are rapidly capturing cities across Afghanistan, further isolating the capital Kabul just three weeks before the deadline for full US troop withdrawal.
Friday morning, Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban and a former hub for thousands of US forces, is under Taliban control, NBC News has confirmed.
The military ground in Afghanistan is shifting so fast, the Pentagon is sending 3,000 troops to the Kabul airport temporarily to make sure embassy staff get out safely.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said, “We believe it’s appropriate to the security situation now and prepared for the future.”
On Thursday, Taliban fighters stormed into Herat in the West and raised their flag in Ghazni on a main highway to Kabul just 80 miles away.
The State Department is again urging all Americans to leave immediately.
The NYT reports the US is asking the Taliban to spare the embassy in return for any future government aid.
Back in June US Secretary of State Blinken said a possible Taliban takeover would not lead to an immediate deterioration. But it’s happened in a week, Kabul one of just two major cities still under government control.
Afghans who worked for NATO say they’ve been abandoned and are begging for help.
Friday, the US and its allies issued a joint statement calling for an immediate end to attacks against cities in Afghanistan and warning that a government imposed by force will be a pariah state. But this is a warning that the Taliban has heard before, and they’re still fighting.