US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the US is “working closely” with Turkey and Qatar on quickly reopening Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Blinken told reported at the State Department that they are working closely with Qatar and Turkey to help get the airport in Kabul “up and running as quickly as possible.”
On Friday, Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that they are set to visit Qatar in a joint bid to thank the country for its ongoing efforts in Afghanistan.
The two senior US officials will depart Washington on Sunday, and Blinken said he would be meeting with Doha’s leaders “to express our deep gratitude for all that they’re doing to support the evacuation effort.”
Blinken also expressed: “I’ll also have a chance to meet with Afghans, including our locally-employed staff from Embassy Kabul, who are now safely in Doha preparing for their journey to the United States.”
Amid the rough evacuation efforts conducted earlier during the week, Qatar played a critical role in facilitating US-Taliban peace talks and served as a pivotal intermediary with the group.
Meanwhile, according to a statement by the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, who will also travel to Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia during the travel, will meet with regional partners and thank them for their cooperation with the United States, which helped in evacuating Americans, Afghans, and citizens from other nations from Afghanistan.
While Austin will stay in the region to meet with other key US allies, Blinken will leave Qatar for Germany where he will visit Rammstein Airbase to meet with Afghans seeking refugee status with the US, and Americans who are facilitating these efforts at the military facility.
The Secretary of State will also meet with German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass in person and hold a virtual ministerial meeting with him and representatives of 20 other countries that “have a stake in helping to relocate and resettle Afghans, and in holding the Taliban to their commitments,” the top diplomat underlined.