US Embassy in Afghanistan tells staff to destroy sensitive materials

The US Embassy in Kabul is instructing personnel to destroy sensitive materials as well as items “which could be misused in propaganda efforts,” according to a management notice sent Friday to embassy staff, seen by CNN and described by another source familiar.

The notice comes as the embassy prepares to withdraw a significant number of diplomats and as the security situation on the ground in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, with one diplomatic source telling CNN that one intelligence assessment indicates that Kabul could be isolated by the Taliban within the week, possibly within the next 72 hours.
The notice said facilities would provide “destruction support” daily and called on personnel to “please take advantage and reduce the amount of sensitive material on the property,” including papers and electronics.
    “Please also include items with embassy or agency logos, American flags, or items which could be misused in propaganda efforts,” it said.
      The notice said there would be a variety of means to destroy these materials, including burn bins, a disintegrator, an incinerator and a compacter and heavy-duty equipment.
        The State Department said that this was part of the standard procedure applied when minimizing the US footprint.
        “Drawdowns at our diplomatic posts around the world follow a standard operating procedure designed to minimize our footprint across various categories, including staffing, equipment, and supplies. Embassy Kabul is conducting their drawdown in accordance with this standard operating procedure,” a State Department spokesperson said.
          The situation on the ground is incredibly challenging for US diplomats, who say that plans are changing by the minute, one diplomat explained to CNN.
            CNN reported on Thursday that the administration is considering relocating the US Embassy from its current location in the capital to the Kabul airport.
            This story is breaking and will be updated.

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