“The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to leave Afghanistan immediately using available commercial flight options. Given the security conditions and reduced staffing, the Embassy’s ability to assist U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is extremely limited even within Kabul,” the embassy said on its website over the weekend.
The alert included a link to the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which would issue notifications about an evacuation flight.
“However, the Embassy reiterates that U.S. citizens should leave Afghanistan as soon as possible using available commercial transportation and not plan to rely on U.S. government flights,” the alert stated.
It comes as the Taliban terrorist group has taken over large swaths of the country, including the northern city of Kunduz on Aug. 8, according to reports. Kunduz is the third of four provincial capitals that the group has captured in recent days.
Suhail Shaheen, international media spokesman for the Taliban, told Al Jazeera: “We have the capabilities to take over cities, but we were waiting for them, and our policy is for peace and reconciliation, but of course when they [the government] launched an offensive against us, they started the bombing campaign against us, we reacted and took two provincial centers, but still, our policy is for a negotiated settlement of the Afghan issue.”
The terrorist group also overran the provincial capital city of Sar-e-Pul in northern Afghanistan on Aug. 8, marking another defeat for government forces since the start of the withdrawal of U.S. forces earlier this year, after nearly 20 years of war.
The Taliban took over government buildings in the northern provincial capital of Sar-e Pul, driving officials out of the main city to a nearby military base, according to Mohammad Noor Rahmani, a provincial councilman of Sar-e-Pul Province, Reuters reported.
On Aug. 6, the insurgents captured their first provincial capital in years when they took control of Zaranj, on the border with Iran in Afghanistan’s southern Nimroz Province.
“Heavy clashes started yesterday afternoon, all government headquarters are in control of the Taliban, only the army base and the airport is with ANDSF [Afghan security forces] from where they are resisting the Taliban,” Amrudddin Wali, a member of Kunduz provincial assembly, told Al Jazeera about the Taliban’s presence in Kunduz.
There were also unconfirmed reports that U.S. B-52 bombers and gunships were deployed to strike several targets in Sheberghan on Aug. 7.
The Epoch Times has contacted the State Department and the Pentagon for comment.
Reuters contributed to this report.