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State Department urges U.S. citizens to leave Afghanistan

The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan on Saturday urged all U.S. citizens to leave the country "immediately," adding that they should "not plan to rely on U.S. government flights."

The big picture: The warning comes as the Taliban capture their second provincial capital, Sheberghan in Jowzjan Province, in two days.

  • The Taliban on Friday took over Zaranj, a provincial capital in Southwestern Afghanistan.
  • The terrorist group also killed the director of Afghanistan’s Government Information Media Center, saying that the official was "punished to his deeds."
  • Deborah Lyons, the special representative of the United Nations' secretary-general for Afghanistan, warned at a special session of the United Nations Security Council on Friday that without intervention, the nation could fall “into a situation of catastrophe so serious that it would have few, if any, parallels in this century,” per the New York Times.

Details: The American embassy said that all citizens should leave using any available commercial flights, adding that they will offer loans for people who cannot afford to purchase a plane ticket.

  • The State Department in April ordered the departure of federal employees from the embassy in Kabul if their work can be performed elsewhere.
  • The travel advisory for Afghanistan is at level 4 due to "crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict and COVID-19."

What they're saying: The embassy also condemned the Taliban's "violent new offensive against Afghan cities."

  • "These Taliban actions to forcibly impose its rule are unacceptable and contradict its claim to support a negotiated settlement in the Doha peace process," the embassy added.
  • "They demonstrate wanton disregard for the welfare and rights of civilians and will worsen this country’s humanitarian crisis."

Go deeper: Biden defends Afghanistan exit as fears of collapse grow

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