US Secretary of State Anthony Blankenship arrived in Doha on Monday for crisis talks with Qatar after the Taliban claimed complete control of Afghanistan.
Shortly before landing, an official revealed that four Americans had left. Afghanistan With the Taliban’s knowledge, its chaos on the first departure from Washington after the military withdrawal.
Four U.S. citizens were released by land and were received by U.S. diplomats Taliban Did not hinder them. “
Blink, Accompanied by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, he is the most senior US official to visit the region since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August 15.
He was not scheduled to meet with any Taliban representatives in Doha, but State Department official Dan Thompson said Washington would continue to work with the Islamist group to make sure our message was clear to them.
“We are grateful. QatarClose cooperation on Afghanistan, “the State Department said, before Blanken’s arrival in Doha at 1500 GMT, an AFP correspondent observed.
Blinken’s team praised Doha for “essential assistance in facilitating the evacuation of American citizens, embassy staff in Kabul, vulnerable Afghans and others from Qatar to Afghanistan.”
Qatar, which hosts a major US airbase, has been the gateway to evacuate 55,000 people from Afghanistan, half of the total number evacuated by US-led forces since the Taliban seized power. Is.
Prior to his arrival, Blanken said in Qatar he would “express our deep gratitude to all those who are working to support the evacuation efforts” and to meet the rescued Afghans.
He will also meet with US diplomats, as Washington moves its embassy from Kabul to Doha, along with several allies, including Britain and the Netherlands.
The State Department said Blankenship would hold talks with Qatar and Turkey to reopen Kabul’s Remishkal Airport – which is in dire need of humanitarian aid and to evacuate the remaining Afghans.
Qatar invited the Taliban to open a political office in Doha in 2013, then hosted talks between Washington and the Taliban, which ended in 2020 with an agreement to withdraw troops. This was followed by direct talks between the former insurgents and the Afghan government.
Fear of revenge.
The Taliban on Monday claimed complete control of Afghanistan, saying they had won a key battle for the Panjshir Valley, the last resort to resist their rule.
The group finalized its new government three weeks ago after a quick tour of the capital, Kabul, which analysts say may have surprised even hardline Islamists themselves.
After Doha, Blankenship will head to Rammstein’s American Airport in Germany on Wednesday, the temporary home of thousands of Afghans moving to the United States.
US officials say some Americans may have left Afghanistan since the end of the 20-year US war in late August, but they would have done so by private means.
Washington is closely watching to see if the Taliban live up to its promises to American citizens and allies as it decides how to deal with Islamists.
U.S. officials say more than 100 Americans, most of them dual citizens, are in Afghanistan after tens of thousands of people were evacuated in the last days of the longest-running US war.
President Joe Biden’s Republican rivals have stepped up accusations of leaving the United States.
But thousands of translators or others supporting the US mission and their family members are thought to be fearful of retaliation, despite Taliban assurances.
With the breakdown of Kabul Airport, land routes are the key to exiting Afghanistan, mainly Pakistan or Iran, which do not have diplomatic relations with Washington.
While in Rammstein, Blanken will hold 20 ministerial meetings on the crisis with German Foreign Minister Heiko Moss.