US urges citizens to leave Afghanistan immediately

Washington: The United States on Thursday (local time) urged its citizens to immediately leave Afghanistan using available commercial flight options.

“The US Embassy urges US citizens to leave Afghanistan immediately using available commercial flight options. If you cannot afford to purchase an airline ticket at this time, please contact the U.S. Embassy at KabulACS@state.gov for information regarding a repatriation loan,” the embassy said in an official statement.

It also stated that “if you are a US citizen and delaying your departure while you await an immigrant visa for a spouse or minor child, please contact us immediately. Given the security conditions and reduced staffing, the Embassy’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is extremely limited even within Kabul.”

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America’s remarks follow fast developments in the war-torn country where Taliban captured Herat, the country’s third-largest city and the 11th provincial capital in Afghanistan to fall under Taliban control.

Furthermore, the US embassy reminded American citizens that on April 27, 2021, the Department of State ordered the departure from US Embassy Kabul of US government employees whose functions can be performed elsewhere due to increasing violence and threat reports in Kabul.

The Travel Advisory for Afghanistan remains Level 4-Do Not Travel due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict, and COVID-19. Domestic flights and ground transportation routes outside of Kabul are severely limited and subject to cancellation or closure.

US citizens should enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates and ensure the Embassy can contact you in an emergency. In the event of a future official evacuation flight, the Embassy would notify US citizens enrolled in STEP of available assistance, the statement further read.

However, the Embassy reiterates that US citizens should leave Afghanistan as soon as possible using available commercial transportation and not plan to rely on US government flights, it added.

Afghanistan is witnessing a surge in violence as the Taliban has intensified its offensive against Afghan forces and civilians with the complete pullback of foreign forces just a few weeks away. Due to rising violence in the country by the Taliban, the situation is deteriorating badly as the terror group has been looting people and killing civilians after capturing multiple areas from the government.

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