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Blinken lands in Qatar, new hub of efforts for Afghanistan evacuation

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived Monday in Qatar to express gratitude for its help with the chaotic US departure from Afghanistan as the tiny Persian Gulf state emerges as the hub of ongoing initiatives to evacuate US citizens and Afghan allies who were left guiding underneath Taliban rule.

The team of the US embassy in Afghanistan relocated final week to Doha, Qatar, following the final US flights out of Kabul.

Blinken exchanged wrist-bumps with dignitaries as he disembarked his govt jet in Qatar — forward of supper with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani.

The Condition Section on Monday stated it helped four Us residents escape Afghanistan by land considering that previous week, but the office also was accused of obstructing endeavours by US citizens in search of to depart Afghanistan by plane.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) claimed Sunday that the Taliban is holding 6 airplanes carrying Americans and Afghan refugees “hostage” at an airport in northern Afghanistan — but organizers of the flights mentioned Monday that the planes, which 19 Us residents are envisioned to board, truly are held up by the State Department, which has not granted approval to land in Qatar owing to concerns about passenger lists.

Blinken is under fire from Republicans in Congress for his position in the chaotic withdrawal of US troops, American civilians, and Afghans who labored for the US armed forces. The mission remaining powering hundreds of US citizens and thousands of Afghans who labored for the US federal government, even with President Biden’s prior insistence that US troops would continue to be right up until all Individuals who wished to leave have been assisted to do so.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), speaks at a bipartisan news conference on the ongoing Afghanistan evacuations, at the U.S. Capitol on August 25, 2021 in Washington, DC. McCaul urged President Biden to continue to evacuate all American's and those with special immigrant visas
Rep. Michael McCaul reported that the Taliban is holding six airplanes carrying Us citizens and Afghan refugees “hostage.”
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Photos

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is close on Blinken’s heels. He also departed the US on Sunday for his section in what the Biden administration branded a thank-you tour. Austin is predicted to take a look at Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Qatar hosts the substantial Al Udeid Air Foundation controlled by the US armed service, which has been utilized as the original housing site for many of the tens of thousands of persons evacuated from Afghanistan in the last times of the US intervention.

Qatar also has hosted the Taliban’s associates for yrs as element of failed peace negotiations.

Taliban fighters patrol in Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan,
Taliban fighters patrol in Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood in the town of Kabul, Afghanistan.
AP Picture/Rahmat Gul

The compact but rich kingdom has clashed with its neighboring US-allied countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which imposed a almost four-year blockade starting in 2017 that forced Qatar to lean on Iran’s airspace for flights.

The Qatari authorities has experienced welcoming relations with the Muslim Brotherhood, which its neighboring monarchies look at as a danger, and financed additional hardline Islamists in civil wars in Libya and Syria.

Saudi Arabia and its allies introduced the siege of Qatar in June 2017 and issued 17 calls for, together with closing the Al Jazeera information network and downgrading relations with Turkey and Iran. The combat ended in January beneath mediation from then-President Donald Trump’s son-in-legislation Jared Kushner.

airplanes near the main terminal at Mazar-i-Sharif Airport, northern Afghanistan, 03 September 2021
Airplanes in the vicinity of the principal terminal at Mazar-i-Sharif Airport.
SATELLITE Impression 2021 MAXAR Systems/EPA

On his return to DC, Blinken will prevent at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, which is encouraging process evacuees from Afghanistan.

Austin’s trip to Saudi Arabia will be commonly watched as the Biden administration has cooled relations with the Saudis. Biden withdrew US aid for the Saudi intervention in Yemen’s civil war and authorized sanctions against Saudis suspected of involvement in the 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who US spy organizations reportedly concluded ordered the mission, was not sanctioned by Biden.

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