RIYADH: The US defense secretary will travel to the Arabian Gulf next week to thank countries that helped with the evacuation of Afghans from Kabul.
Lloyd Austin said during a press briefing he would be thanking partners “who have done so much to help save and shelter Afghan civilians.”
“We are part of an urgent team effort to move Afghan evacuees out of temporary housing in intermediate staging bases in the Gulf and in Europe and on to begin new lives,” he added.
Gulf nations helped the US evacuate diplomats and foreign nationals through their airports from Kabul after the Taliban captured the capital as part of its lightning offensive to take control of the country amid the US withdrawal.
President Joe Biden made a phone call to Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah where he said his country thanked Kuwait for its “humanitarian role” in facilitating the safe transit of people from Afghanistan, and contributed to the success of US evacuation plans, Kuwait News Agency reported.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to the Bahraini and Qatari foreign ministers to also thank them for their “tremendous efforts” to help safely transit US citizens, Afghans, and other evacuees from Afghanistan.
Austin said the US has “concluded the largest air evacuation of civilians in American history,” evacuating some 6,000 American citizens, and a total of more than 124,000 civilians, which was done “in the midst of the (COVID-19) pandemic and in the face of grave and growing threats.”