In an acknowledgment of the inevitable embarrassment on the world stage about to befall the United States amid its devastatingly mismanaged military withdrawal, Biden administration officials instructed staff at the embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan to destroy American flags ahead of an impending takeover of the capital city by the Taliban, according to the Daily Wire.
A State Department memo obtained by the Washington Post read, “Facilities will provide destruction support between 0830 and 1600 daily until further notice. Please take advantage and reduce the amount of sensitive material on the property.”
Underscoring the potential risk of leaving such materials to fall into the wrong hands, the memo continued – in bold print – “Please also include items embassy or agency logos, American flags, or items which could be misused in propaganda efforts” initiated by the Taliban insurgents.
The issuance of the memo came as the stunning speed at which the Taliban were seizing large swaths of territory and weaponry continued to take the world rather by surprise, and it soon became apparent that the fall of the government in Kabul was likely to happen in a matter of hours or days, despite recent Biden administration assurances to the contrary.
Indeed, the pace of developments quickened dramatically over Saturday night and into Sunday with the departure from Kabul via plane of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which was followed by the release of photos of Taliban fighters from inside the Presidential Palace, as the Daily Mail reported.
Storming the palace and demanding what the referred to as a “peaceful transfer of power,” the Taliban insurgents also announced their intention to declare the existence of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan forthwith, the Mail added.
At the start of the weekend, the Pentagon announced that a contingent of 3,000 troops would be sent back into Kabul to facilitate the evacuation of embassy personnel and dependents as well as other key assets in the region, though that number was increased to 5,000 on Saturday as it became clear how quickly conditions were deteriorating.
In what is a demoralizing end to the nearly 20-year American involvement in Afghanistan, begun in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the U.S embassy has now suspended operations, its personnel have shifted to evacuation efforts, and our nation’s flag has indeed been lowered. “That’s it. It’s over,” one diplomatic official declared to Fox News.
As the situation in Kabul continued its descent into utter chaos, Gen. David Petraeus, former commander of U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan summarized things succinctly, calling Biden’s rushed and ill-managed troop withdrawal a “serious mistake” and suggesting that the results could prove “catastrophic for the United States and the world.”