The United States will place its diplomatic corps in Afghanistan in Qatar

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Monday that Washington will transfer its diplomatic mission in Afghanistan to Qatar, after the completion of the US military withdrawal of the Central Asian country. In a speech from State Department headquarters, Blinken outlined the main points of the foreign policy from his country from now on to Afghanistan, where the Taliban have regained power.

The Foreign Minister indicated that a new diplomatic team will be created to install the mission in Doha, which will be led by Ross Wilson, who has been the charge d’affaires of the embassy in Kabul until now. Consular services will be offered from the Qatari capital, in addition to managing humanitarian aid for Afghanistan and working with allies and partners to “coordinate” the deal with the Taliban. “A new episode of the US relationship with Afghanistan has begun. The military mission has ended. A new diplomatic mission has begun,” said the head of US diplomacy.

He explained that in this new era of US foreign policy toward the Central Asian country, Washington will focus first on continuing its “tireless efforts” to help Americans, foreign nationals and Afghans, who want to leave Afghanistan. Blinken recalled that there are fewer than 200 US citizens left there.

Another of the US priorities is for the Taliban to fulfill their commitment to allow people who want to travel outside the country: “They have committed to letting anyone who has the proper documents leave the country in a safe and orderly manner.”

Blinken met virtually on Monday with the foreign ministers of the US, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Turkey and Qatar, as well as the European Union (EU) and NATO. At that meeting, they discussed how to work together “to facilitate safe travel out of Afghanistan,” including the reopening of Kabul airport “as soon as possible.” “This would allow for a small number of daily charter flights, which is key for anyone wanting to leave Afghanistan,” he said.

The Taliban have also pledged to prevent terrorist groups that could threaten the United States from using Afghanistan as a base of operations, but Blinken admitted that the United States will remain “vigilant” in the event of a possible breach.

About the relations with a future Taliban governmentThe secretary of state said that any type of ties will always be guided by “vital national interests” of the United States. “If we can work with the new Afghan government in a way that helps secure those interests – including the safe return of Mark Frerichs, a US citizen who has been held hostage in the region since the beginning of last year – and in a way that brings greater stability (…) then we will do it, “he said. Even so, he warned that every step that the US takes in this direction will not be based on “what the Taliban government says, but on what it does to fulfill its commitments.” He pointed out that the Taliban will have to earn any legitimacy and international support by fulfilling their obligations and commitments.

This Monday, the United States put an end to the longest war in its history with the withdrawal of its last soldiers from Afghanistan, almost 20 years after their deployment in the country.

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