U.S. Marines have moved into the once-abandoned American embassy compound in Kabul. They are providing security for a civilian State Department team that is assessing what it would take to re-establish a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan after an absence of 12 years.
The Marines came into Kabul early Monday and took up sandbagged positions on the rooftop and throughout the sprawling compound.
"These Marines here are providing security and defending the embassy to re-establish the embassy, the American embassy here," said Sergeant Andrew Pomykal.
Sgt. Pomykal said the State Department team had come to see if the building and compound might still be used. He said the main building seemed to be structurally sound but that it had been completely ransacked. A number of smaller buildings on the compound were gutted by fire when pro-Taleban protesters tried to burn down the embassy during the last days they held power here.
The United States closed the embassy in 1989 when Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan. No decision has yet been made on when the embassy might reopen.