The US embassy in Kabul is shredding documents and disposing of American flags over fears the building could soon be overrun by the Taliban

The US embassy in Kabul is shredding documents and disposing of American flags over fears the building could soon be overrun by the Taliban
·2 min read
View of the U.S. Embassy (front buildings) in Kabul, Afghanistan, January 20, 2016. Picture taken January 20, 2016.    AfghanistanLM       REUTERS/Omar Sobhani
View of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul Thomson Reuters
  • US embassy staff in Kabul were told to start destroying documents as the Taliban advances, according to Bloomberg.

  • The notice to staff in Afghanistan's capital city also asked that anything with a US logo or flag be destroyed.

  • The memo showed the seriousness of the Taliban threat as US officials claimed the retreat was not an "evacuation."

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Staff at the US embassy in Kabul were told on Friday to destroy sensitive material, highlighting fears that the Taliban may soon overrun the building in Afghanistan's capital city, according to Bloomberg.

The notice to American personnel sent from the embassy facilities manager asked that staff destroy anything with US logos, flags, or other items "which could be misused in propaganda efforts," the report said.

The memo reportedly told diplomats how they destroy materials: using burn bins and shredders for paper, incinerators for medical waste, a compactor to crush large items, and a disintegrator for electronics.

The Pentagon said Thursday that 3,000 additional US troops will be sent to the Kabul airport to assist with the American evacuation, as the Taliban make rapid gains across Afghanistan. Taliban forces have been overrunning Afghan government posts, sending thousands of civilians fleeing to Kabul.

The embassy's memo does not apply to weapons or ammunition, according to Bloomberg, which also cited two Biden administration officials who said the destruction procedure is standard when a US outpost overseas is being "scaled down."

During a briefing Thursday, State Department spokesman Ned Price claimed the US's moves are not an evacuation.

"This is not abandonment. This is not an evacuation. This is not the wholesale withdrawal," he said. "What this is is a reduction in the size of our civilian footprint. This is a drawdown of civilian Americans who will in many cases be able to perform their important functions elsewhere, whether that's in the United States or elsewhere in the region."

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