Qatar to Manage US Diplomatic Interests in Afghanistan
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Qatar has agreed to manage US diplomatic interests in Afghanistan, and thanks the Qatari leadership for its support.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed on Friday that Qatar will manage the interests of the US in Afghanistan and assist its citizens, following the closure of the US embassy amid the Taliban takeover in August.
Welcoming his Qatari counterpart to Washington, Blinken signed an agreement that established Qatar as the US protecting power in Afghanistan.
"Let me again say how grateful we are for your leadership, your support on Afghanistan, but also to note that our partnership is much broader than that," Blinken told Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.
The Qataris earlier played host to negotiations between the US and Taliban that led to the February 2020 agreement for the United States to withdraw troops.
Since the Taliban takeover, US embassy operations in Kabul have been relocated to Qatar.
The US Secretary of State stated that relations with Qatar are expanding and that events in Afghanistan have strengthened the partnership between the two.
Blinken stated that preparations are underway to celebrate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the US and Qatar.
Qatari Foreign Minister: Preparing to revive milestones in US-Qatari relations
For his part, the Qatari foreign minister said that 2022 will be an exceptional year to revive milestones in US-Qatari relations, adding that Qatar's relationship with the US became stronger after working with Washington and other international partners to evacuate thousands from Kabul.
He also stressed that Qatar remains committed to taking the necessary action to achieve stability in Afghanistan, and considered that the priority is aiding Afghan people.
The Qatari minister considered that abandoning Afghanistan would be a mistake and that resorting to isolation is not a solution to any problem.
Al-Thani also urged the Taliban movement to fulfill its commitments.
Despite the Taliban's 1996-2001 rule of Afghanistan and years of war with the United States, US officials have been cautiously optimistic on dealing with the Taliban, saying that the Islamists are largely carrying out promises to let people leave the country.
But the US has ruled out any immediate recognition or reopening of its embassy in Kabul, saying it is waiting to see the Taliban's policy toward women and prohibiting al-Qaeda from basing operations in Afghanistan.