US completes evacuation of embassy in Afghanistan
The American flag at the US embassy in Kabul was taken down Sunday, marking a final step in the evacuation of the diplomatic compound, days earlier than US officials initially projected, according to a source familiar with the situation.
The US scrambled to evacuate staff and top officials from its embassy in Afghanistan Sunday as Taliban fighters entered the city, Afghan government officials fled the country and gunfire was heard at Kabul airport, multiple sources told CNN.
Early Sunday, two sources familiar with the situation told CNN that the plan was to pull all US personnel from the embassy in Kabul over the next 72 hours. Hours later, most US embassy staff had been moved to Kabul airport for flights out of the country.
The rush to the exits marked an unsettling, tragic end to the US presence in Afghanistan as the Taliban retook control nearly 20 years after the US invaded to avenge the terror attacks of September 2001. After an investment of around $2 trillion, some 2,400 American lives lost and thousands more wounded, a nation-building project that spanned Republican and Democratic administrations devolved in just a few days into a complicated and nerve-wracking rescue mission.
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