US’ Blinken thanks Qatar for Afghanistan evacuations
Qatar says talks ongoing with Taliban on Kabul airport
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday thanked Qatar for its role in the evacuation of thousands of Americans and Afghans from Afghanistan following the Taliban control of the country.
Speaking at a press conference in Doha, Blinken expressed gratitude for Qatar's role in saving thousands of lives in Afghanistan, adding that the evacuations wouldn't be successful without Qatar's support.
Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in Doha on Monday where they met with top Qatari officials, including Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
“I expressed our gratitude for Qatar’s remarkable support of the safe transit of hundreds of US citizens and tens of thousands of Afghans and other evacuees from Afghanistan,” Blinken wrote on Twitter.
The chief US diplomat also said Washington managed to evacuate 6,000 Americans from Kabul airport, noting that 100 Americans have not decided yet to leave Afghanistan.
Blinken said the Taliban told the United States that "they will let people with travel documents freely depart" Afghanistan.
He also stressed that the US is closely working with Qatar and Turkey on the issue of resuming civilian flights to Kabul airport.
For his part, Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said Doha evacuated 58,000 people from Afghanistan.
He said if Qatar agrees with the Taliban on the security measures at Kabul airport, it will be operational soon.
“We have fixed a lot of the elements which are over there, and we are about to get everything operational very soon,” he added.
The Qatari minister also urged the UN and other international organizations to keep providing assistance to Afghanistan.
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Writing by Ahmed Asmar