Three major Afghan cities fell to the Taliban overnight on Friday as terrorist forces prepare to mount an attack on the Afghan capital of Kabul.
Kandahar, Lashkar Gah, and Herat—three landmark cities with a combined population of more than 1.3 million—came into Taliban hands by Friday morning. All three cities will provide significant cultural and economic resources for the terrorists, but Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city and a trading hub, is an especially significant economic boost for the jihadists.
The Taliban lays siege to the cities as the Biden administration completes a full withdrawal of U.S. troops and civilians from the region. The administration has pledged little material support for the besieged Afghan government, and has instead threatened the Taliban with ostracization from the international community and withheld U.S. aid in the future. As the terrorists encircle the Afghan capital of Kabul—a city which experts say could fall by the 20th anniversary of 9/11—American diplomats are reportedly pleading with the Taliban to spare the United States embassy from destruction.
Spirits within the embassy remain low. According to NPR correspondent Tom Bowman, the mood of remaining Americans in the Kabul post is more "dire than what the State Department is saying."
"Mail has stopped. Nearly all employees are packing up and a very small number will head to another location," Bowman said. "Staff are gearing up to destroy sensitive papers, computers, phones."
As diplomats prepare to evacuate, the Biden administration is also deploying some 8,000 troops to the region. President Joe Biden, however, has ducked heightened scrutiny from the press by heading on vacation to his Wilmington, Del., home.
House Armed Services Committee ranking member Mike Rogers (R., Ala.) called the deteriorating situation Biden's "Saigon moment."
"Weeks ago, President Biden promised the American people that we would not have a Saigon moment in Afghanistan," Rogers said. "Now, we are watching President Biden's Saigon moment unfold before us."
House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Michael McCaul (R., Texas) said the Biden administration ignored several warnings about the impending fall of Afghanistan.
"President Biden's lack of leadership has enabled the deteriorating situation on the ground in Afghanistan," McCaul said. "He will be abandoning our Afghan partners and the women of Afghanistan to be slaughtered—and he will own the horrific images that come from it."