DOHA: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Doha on Monday, an AFP correspondent noticed, forward of disaster talks with the Qataris after the Taliban claimed to have full management over Afghanistan.
Blinken, accompanied by Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin, is essentially the most senior US official to go to the area because the Taliban’s lightning takeover of Afghanistan on August 15 and the conclusion of Washington’s chaotic withdrawal.
“We’re grateful for Qatar’s shut collaboration on Afghanistan and its indispensable assist in facilitating the transit of US residents, Embassy Kabul personnel, at-risk Afghans, and different evacuees from Afghanistan via Qatar,” the State Division mentioned forward of Blinken’s arrival in Doha.
Qatar, which hosts a significant US airbase, has been the gateway for 55,000 folks airlifted out of Afghanistan, practically half the full quantity evacuated by US-led forces after the Taliban’s lightning takeover.
Earlier than his arrival, Blinken mentioned that in Qatar he would “specific our deep gratitude for all that they’re doing to assist the evacuation effort” and meet rescued Afghans.
He may also meet US diplomats, who’ve relocated capabilities from the shuttered embassy in Kabul to Doha.
The State Division mentioned Blinken would focus on with Qatar its efforts, alongside Turkey, to reopen Kabul’s ramshackle airport — important to fly in badly wanted humanitarian assist and to evacuate remaining Afghans.
The Taliban on Monday claimed complete management over Afghanistan, saying they’d gained the important thing battle for the Panjshir Valley, the final remaining holdout of resistance towards their rule.