Helicopters could be seen leaving the embassy compound for the Hamid Karzai International Airport after it officially closed on August 15, with US Chargé d’Affaires Ross Wilson and other officials relocating embassy operations due to security concerns.
The vast US embassy compound was at the heart of the “Kabubble” — part of the capital's fortified Green Zone, not far from the city centre.
It was dedicated in 2006 by former president George W Bush, who called the main embassy building “a big, solid, permanent structure".
“I am struck by the story that our embassy was kept open and guarded during the days of the Taliban, and when Afghanistan was liberated, there were Afghan nationals here to turn over the keys to the embassy,” Mr Bush said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Diplomats and well-paid foreign service staff lived in cloistered safety in the sprawling American exclave, which included the largest building the US State Department had ever contracted, according to Caddell Construction.
The US had spent a total of $1.5 billion on the embassy's construction, maintenance and security since 2002, a special inspector-general report revealed in June.
A contractor for the embassy build, DLR Group, wrote that the windows had been built small for security purposes and to keep costs on blast-proof glass low — necessary in a city routinely rocked by terror attacks.
The embassy had all the trappings of a posh government building in Washington, including a canteen serving American food and coffee. There was also a swimming pool and tennis courts, and staff there often attended fancy soirees with military commanders from the neighbouring Nato base.
At about 36 acres, the embassy is significantly smaller than the largest US embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, which measures over 100 acres.
Visitors to the embassy would sometimes be greeted by Molly, a feral but friendly cat, who allegedly predated the US occupation, and would be 20 today if still alive.