US State Secretary Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin opened talks on Tuesday in key diplomatic hub Qatar as they struggle to hurry up evacuations from Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.
The top officials from US President Joe Biden’s security team began a gathering at the foreign ministry with their counterparts after a dinner on arrival on Monday with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
Blinken in his meeting with the Gulf state’s ruler hailed “Qatar’s extraordinary support in facilitating the safe transit folks citizens, our partners, and other Afghans at-risk,” the State Department said.
Qatar was the transit point for nearly half the quite 120,000 people evacuated from Afghanistan within the chaotic final days of the 20-year US war because the Taliban took over.
Qatar is that the Taliban’s international diplomatic base although Blinken’s aides said he has no plans to satisfy them as Washington instead waits to guage the group’s actions in power to work out the extent of engagement.
The us on Monday facilitated the evacuation of 4 Americans by land from Afghanistan, the primary departures arranged by Washington since the military pullout.
A State Department official said the Taliban were conscious of the operation and didn’t interfere.
But non-governmental organisations say that some 600 to 1,300 people — including girls and US citizens — are stuck at the airport within the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
Marina LeGree, the founder and executive of alittle American non-governmental organisation active in Afghanistan, told AFP that the Taliban aren’t letting anyone through.
US officials say they not control the airspace in Afghanistan which the most airport in Kabul, which the US military seized in August for evacuations, is unrepaired .
Blinken and Austin are expected to talk to Qatar about its efforts alongside Turkey to refurbish the Kabul airport to permit evacuations and therefore the arrival of badly needed humanitarian supplies.