Blinken and Austin in Doha to Discuss Evacuations and Taliban
The American Foreign and Defense ministers arrive in Doha, striving to complete Afghanistan evacuations.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in Qatar on Monday to seek assistance in the evacuation of Americans and Afghans left in Afghanistan, following the messy American withdrawal last month.
Another agenda on the state officials' agenda is reaching a consensus between allied nations on how to proceed with the Taliban.
According to the Amiri Diwan of the State of Qatar, Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani welcomed Blinken and Austin at the Pearl Palace and discussed the developments in the situation in Afghanistan and measures to strengthen security there.
HH the Amir during his meeting with US Secretary of State and US Secretary of Defense at the Pearl Palace. The meeting discussed regional and international developments, mainly the developments in Afghanistan and the efforts to enhance security and stability in the country. #QNA pic.twitter.com/phfbcrBL8q— Qatar News Agency (@QNAEnglish) September 6, 2021
A senior State Department official told reporters onboard Blinken's jet that Washington enabled the safe evacuation of four additional Americans from Afghanistan.
The official detailed that the evacuation was the first carried out by land and coordinated by the US State Department, adding that the Taliban knew of the operation and did not hinder the evacuation.
What country the evacuees were transported to was not disclosed.
Blinken's trip to Germany is billed as a gratitude trip to Qatar and Germany, which assisted Washington in evacuating hundreds of civilians from Kabul. Blinken is scheduled to meet with top Qatari and German authorities.
During the tumultuous US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Qatar has emerged as the major mediator between the Taliban and Western countries.
Doha announced on Saturday that it had reopened Kabul airport to humanitarian aid and internal flights in agreement with the Taliban, adding that international flights are soon anticipated. Daily flights from Doha to Kabul have been scheduled to carry assistance.
Following the movement's takeover of the country, some 124,000 foreigners and Afghans at risk were evacuated from Kabul last month through a US-led airlift.
Blinken from Qatar: Taliban will allow those holding valid documents to leave Afghanistan
Blinken announced that the US has communicated with the Taliban, and that they will allow those holding valid travel documents to leave: "
"And it's my understanding is that the Taliban has not denied exit to anyone holding a valid document, but they have said those without valid documents, at this point, can't leave."
Speaking in a joint press conference with his Qatari counterpart, Mohammmed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Blinken announced his country's deep gratitude for Qatar, and that many countries helped in Afghanistan's evacuation efforts, but none more so than Qatar.