State Department reduces staff at the embassy in Kabul

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FILE – In this Feb. 1, 2021 file photo, birds fly over the city of Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLNS) – As the United States military prepares to exit Afghanistan, the State Department has ordered much of the remaining staff at the U.S. embassy in Kabul to return home.

That order applies to all embassy personnel unless their jobs require them to be physically present. This goes further than normal staff reductions for security reasons, which usually only affects non-essential personnel. it is not clear how many people have been recalled.

The State Department also discouraged travel to Afghanistan and urged all Americans who want to leave the country to do so as soon as possible.

Staffing at the embassy has been decreasing since last year when then-president Donald Trump announced that all American troops would leave Afghanistan by next month.

The Biden administration has extended that deadline to September 11th, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. The president and administration officials say the U.S. will remain committed to Afghanistan’s development even after the withdrawal.

Some critics of withdrawing from Afghanistan say they are concerned that the move could reverse progress on women’s rights in the country. Others worry that, without a peace deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban, a withdrawal could lead to civil war.

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