The government has effectively lost most of north, south and west Afghanistan in the past week
The United States said Thursday it will send troops to evacuate embassy staff from Kabul, as a rapid Taliban advance across Afghanistan saw more than a third of the country's provincial capitals fall in a week.
The announcement came hours after Afghan troops abandoned the country's third largest city -- Herat -- to the insurgents, as the morale of Afghanistan's security forces appeared to collapse.
The government has effectively lost most of north, south and west Afghanistan in the past week, and is left holding the capital and a dwindling number of contested cities also dangerously at risk.
As the Taliban swept across more territory, the United States and United Kingdom moved to quickly pull out their embassy staff from the capital.
"We are further reducing our civilian footprint in Kabul in light of the evolving security situation," US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, while noting the embassy would remain open.
The Pentagon said 3,000 US troops would be deployed to Kabul within the next 24 to 48 hours, underscoring that they would not be used for attacks on the Taliban.