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The Biden administration is sending Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to the Middle East to discuss the future and safety of the region following a butchered exit from Afghanistan.
Both Blinken and Lloyd are traveling to a number of Middle Eastern countries in order to discuss the future of the region now that the Taliban has seized Afghanistan. According to a State Department official, the trip “will underscore our enduring partnerships with these countries as well as our deep gratitude for their support for our ongoing effort in Afghanistan.”
The two officials will leave for Doha, Qatar, today in separate planes. Qatar played a critical role in aiding the United States in the disorganized evacuation efforts by allowing the U.S. to use al-Udeid airbase for the mission. The nation will assist the Taliban in reopening the Kabul airport. A tech team from Qatar has already opened the airport for flights that will provide aid and humanitarian efforts. The future of commercial flights is beginning to be discussed by Qatar, Turkey, and the Taliban
After visiting Qatar, Blinken will then travel to Ramstein airbase in Germany in order to meet with Afghan refugees. While in Germany, Blinken will participate in a virtual call with leaders from 20 other countries to discuss the future of Afghanistan.
Spokesman Ned Price said Blinken will thank Germany for its assistance during the 20-year occupation and for their evacuation efforts:
The secretary will convey the United States’ gratitude to the German government for being an invaluable partner in Afghanistan for the past 20 years and for German cooperation on transit operations moving people out of Afghanistan.
Secretary Austin will thank Qatar leaders for their partnership during the evacuation mission before heading to Bahrain to meet with Marines who carried out the mission in Kabul.
The defense secretary will then head to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to meet with leaders who may be concerned about the destabilization that has taken place in Afghanistan. Relations have frayed between the United States and Saudi Arabia over Biden’s attempts to reignite a nuclear deal with Iran. The country did not assist with evacuation efforts.
On Friday, Blinken explained, “There are a lot of extremely complex logistical issues to address and coordinate. We’re working through them as quickly and as methodically as we possibly can.”
Blinken and Austin were recently singled out by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) in a tweet along with the president and vice president. “Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Antony Blinken, Lloyd Austin, and General Milley should all resign or face impeachment and removal from office,” the tweet read.