Originally published on ZeroHedge.
update (5:40eastern): The State Department has ordered the US embassy in Kabul to begin shredding all sensitive and classified materials as the Taliban heads for the capital city:
A memo obtained by NPR lays out the emergency preparations underway by American diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul — including the destruction of sensitive documents and computers — as most of them prepare to leave the country.
…The embassy staffers were instructed to destroy important papers and desktop computers before they leave, according to the document.
US embassy in the ‘burning documents’ stage of preparation. “one diplomatic source telling CNN that one intelligence assessment indicates that Kabul could be isolated by the Taliban within the week, possibly within the next 72 hours.” https://t.co/jS8Qlj1pYx (Tho “isolated” how?)
— Shashank Joshi (@shashj) August 13, 2021
It’s a disastrous scene reminiscent of Tehran in 1979 during the Islamic Revolution, which saw the US embassy there attacked, resulting in fifty-two American diplomats and citizens being held hostage, kicking off the lengthy Iran hostage crisis.
Earlier in the day Friday it was widely reported that Washington has formally asked the Taliban to ‘spare’ the embassy from attack should Kabul fall.
Let the burning and shredding of documents begin…
* * *
The big international headlining story this week has been the Taliban’s lighting fast gobbling up of Afghan territory amid the Biden ordered complete US troop withdrawal by the symbolic date of September 11. As we observed previously, it’s looking to get very awkward fast given the Taliban at this rate will be in control of the entire country by that date, making any ‘mission accomplished’ type speech given by Biden a total humiliation before the teleprompter so much as gets rolling.
As of yesterday the Taliban established itself a mere 90 miles south of Kabul, after capturing a major highway between the Afghan capital of Kandahar (the latter is now in complete Taliban control), given its taking of the provincial capital Ghazni along the highway. The Taliban now has at least 18 provincial capitals under its belt, which makes up well over two-thirds of the geographic country. On Friday there are new reports the Taliban are now a mere 30 miles from Kabul, putting the Islamists in direct striking distance as preparations for a major offensive begin, and as the US embassy has been ordered evacuated.
Russian state sources are citing humanitarian aid workers in the country who say that not only are Taliban fighters just outside the capital, but the sprawling city of four-and-a-half million people are experiencing rolling power outages. For example, ATMs are reported down across parts of the capital as all foreigners and anyone who can scramble to make contingency plans put them into effect.
“Taliban forces are now operating just 50 km [31 miles] from Kabul and have cut power cables leading into the city, depriving it of electricity, Luca Lo Presti, president of Pangea, an Italian humanitarian organisation which operates in Afghanistan, has told Sputnik.”
Presti was quoted as saying: “We are very worried, because the Taliban are within 50 km of Kabul. This morning they cut the cables for electricity, the city is almost completely isolated.”
This assessment is consistent with the latest Wall Street Journal reporting, which has sounded the alarm that the Taliban is preparing for the final “march of the capital”:
The Taliban completed the seizure of Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city and the Islamist movement’s birthplace, and took into custody a warlord who organized the failed defenses of the western city of Herat.
Combined with other advances, including the capture of the provincial capital of Helmand, the fall of these two major cities has given the Taliban full control of southern and western Afghanistan, allowing the insurgent movement to pool its forces for a final march on Kabul.
Time lapse map shows lighting-fast pace of the Taliban’s recapturing two-thirds of the country that America spent over 20 years occupying…
– @LongWarJournal‘s time lapse map of Taliban’s gains in Afghanistan by district, from April 13 (the day before President Biden announced the withdrawal), and Aug. 10. Taliban has tripled districts it controls, and has taken control of 8 provincial capitals. pic.twitter.com/A76NtwQbau
— Bill Roggio (@billroggio) August 10, 2021
Despite prior US intelligence assessments predicting Kabul’s fall “within six months” or even the latest forecast of “one month to 90 days” – it’s increasingly looking like a rapid Taliban blitz on the capital could begin as soon as this weekend or next week.
What’s becoming increasingly obvious is that the rapid jihadist gains are due in large part to US-trained Afghan national forces frequently retreating with little or no resistance put up whatsoever. What’s also clear is that US Empire is in retreat, humiliated after following the course that all empires have in central Asia, going back to Alexander the Great.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- It’s Not So Bad In Afghanistan”: Hypocritical Europe Not To Allow New Refugees
- Taliban Fighters Reach Kabul Doorstep After Capturing Logar Capital (Videos)