Rahmat Gul / AP
The United States is evacuating a “significant” number of employees from its embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, as Taliban forces gain ground across the country.
The State Department said Thursday it was reducing its civilian footprint from around 4,000 to a “core diplomatic presence” in light of the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.
“Our embassy remains open and our diplomatic mission will continue,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters at a press briefing.
The department issued a statement that the U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense spoke by phone with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Thursday and told him that the United States “remains committed to the security and stability of Afghanistan in the face of Taliban violence.”
Embassy officials have urged Americans to leave Afghanistan immediately in recent days.
According to the Pentagon, 3,000 additional US troops are heading to Afghanistan to help with the evacuation efforts. Three infantry battalions are expected to arrive at Kabul International Airport within the next 24 to 48 hours.
There are currently 650 US troops in Afghanistan guarding the Embassy and Kabul International Airport.