HomeWorldBlinken, Austin to meet allies on Afghan crisis trip

Blinken, Austin to meet allies on Afghan crisis trip

Washington – The US diplomatic and defense chiefs on Saturday announced travel next week to Qatar and other allies on the Afghanistan crisis as they strive to help more people escape Taliban rule.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will spend Monday and Tuesday in Qatar, the largest hub for the evacuations of some 100,000 Afghans in the final days of the 20-year US military mission. He will then head to the US air base of Ramstein in Germany, which has become a temporary home for thousands of Afghan allies of the United States flown out after the US-backed government collapsed. He said he will meet with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and then hold a 20-nation virtual ministerial meeting on the crisis.

The countries “all have a stake in helping to relocate and resettle Afghans and in holding the Taliban to their commitments,” Blinken told reporters. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will leave on a trip that also begins in Qatar and will also include Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, fellow US military allies in the Gulf, the Pentagon said.

The Taliban, eager to keep foreign assistance coming in as they suddenly run a deeply poor country, have promised to keep letting Afghans leave. They are also expected shortly to name a government.

UN chief to host Afghanistan aid meeting in Geneva on 13th

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres will travel to Geneva to convene a high-level conference on aid for Afghanistan on September 13, his spokesman said Friday. “The conference will advocate for a swift scale-up in funding so the lifesaving humanitarian operation can continue; and appeal for full and unimpeded humanitarian access to make sure Afghans continue to get the essential services they need,” Stephane Dujarric said in a statement. He said development gains must also be protected in the country and that the rights of women were an “essential” part of Afghanistan’s future stability.

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