U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivers remarks following talks on the scenario in Afghanistan, on the State Division in Washington, U.S., August 30, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Pool
August 31, 2021
(Refiles to repair spelling of Humeyra Pamuk’s first identify in reporting credit)
By Simon Lewis and Humeyra Pamuk
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -America has suspended its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan and can conduct its operations out of Qatar, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated on Monday, including Washington will press forward with its “relentless” efforts to assist folks go away the nation, even after its troops have pulled out.
Blinken’s assertion comes after the departure of the final U.S. aircraft, abandoning 1000’s of Afghans who helped Western international locations and may need certified for evacuation.
The operation got here to an finish earlier than the Tuesday deadline set by President Joe Biden, who has drawn heavy criticism from each Democrats and Republicans for his dealing with of Afghanistan because the Taliban made speedy advances and took over Kabul earlier this month.
In his remarks, after which he ignored shouted questions from reporters, Blinken stated Washington would conduct its Afghanistan diplomacy together with consular work and administering humanitarian help out of Qatari capital Doha, with a workforce headed by Ian McCary, the deputy chief of the U.S. mission to Afghanistan.
“A brand new chapter of America’s engagement with Afghanistan has begun. It’s one by which we are going to lead with our diplomacy,” Blinken stated and added: “We are going to proceed our relentless efforts to assist Individuals, international nationals and Afghans, go away Afghanistan, in the event that they select.”
He stated near greater than 100 Individuals have been nonetheless believed to stay in Afghanistan who needed to depart however Washington was attempting to find out their precise quantity. Over 6,000 Individuals have been evacuated.
Greater than 122,000 folks have been flown out of Kabul since Aug. 14, the day earlier than the Taliban – which harbored the al Qaeda militant group blamed for the 2001 assaults on New York and Washington – regained management of the nation.
Because the destiny of the Kabul airport, the nation’s foremost gateway to the remainder of the world, remained unsure following the U.S. departure and Taliban takeover, Blinken stated Washington was working to seek out methods to assist Individuals and others who might select to depart through overland routes.
“We now have no phantasm that any of this will probably be simple or speedy,” he stated.
(Reporting by Simon Lewis, Humeyra Pamuk, Matt Spetalnick, Daphne Psaledakis, Mohammad Zargham, Michael Martina; Enhancing by Sandra Maler and Chris Reese)