The US has started evacuating diplomats from its embassy in Kabul, two US officials told Reuters news agency with helicopters landing on the premises as diplomatic vehicles leave the compound.

“We have a small batch of people leaving now as we speak, a majority of the staff are ready to leave … the embassy continues to function,” one of the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said.

The rapid helicopter shuttle runs came as wisps of smoke rose from the embassy’s roof. US officials previously said diplomats inside had begun destroying sensitive documents.

Afghan civilians flee rural areas
Early on Sunday, refugees from Taliban-controlled provinces were seen unloading belongings from taxis, families stood outside embassy gates, while the city’s downtown was packed with people stocking up on supplies.

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Hundreds of people slept huddled in tents or in the open in the city, by roadsides or in car parks, a resident said. “You can see the fear in their faces.”

Aljazeera News,

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