Biden thanks Qatar for ‘generous support’ on evacuating US nationals from Kabul
- US President Joe Biden said that the “largest airlift of people in history” would not have been possible without Qatar’s assistance, and also thanked the country for paving the way for intra-Afghan peace talks.
Amid increasing criticism following his decision to withdraw the country’s troops from Afghanistan after nearly two decades, US President Joe Biden on Friday thanked Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani for their “generous support” regarding the evacuation of American diplomats and nationals currently underway from Afghanistan.
“The President expressed appreciation for Qatar’s generous support for the ongoing evacuation from Afghanistan of U.S. citizens, diplomatic staff from the US and several partner nations, and vulnerable Afghan nationals,” a statement by the White House read.
Biden also lauded Qatar for its support in facilitating thousands of people daily, saying that the evacuation from Afghanistan – the “largest airlift of people in history” would not have been possible without the early support of the country.
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The White House statement noted that the Emir and Biden spoke to “reaffirm the longstanding friendship” between Qatar and the US. Biden also thanked Qatar for its long-played role to pave the way for intra-Afghan peace talks.
“The two leaders underscored the importance of continued close coordination on developments in Afghanistan and the broader Middle East, and they welcomed the upcoming summit of regional states to be held in Baghdad towards the end of the month,” the statement further read.
This came on the same day that Union external affairs minister S Jaishankar held talks with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani on the ongoing conflict in war-torn Afghanistan. The minister held talks with Al-Thani during his halt in Doha en route to India from the US.
“Met Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani … during my stopover in Doha. Had useful exchange of views on Afghanistan,” Jaishankar tweeted on Friday.
Meanwhile, Biden, while addressing the Afghanistan crisis on Friday, said that he couldn’t guarantee the final outcome of the emergency evacuation from Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport.
He also said that US forces have airlifted 13,000 people from the now Taliban-captured Afghanistan since August 14 – a day before the insurgents ousted the Ashraf Ghani-led government, and as many as 18,000 since July – with several more evacuated on private charter flights “facilitated by the US government.”
These evacuees include US citizens’ families, special immigration visa (SIV) applicants and their families, along with vulnerable Afghan nationals.
On Saturday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated that actions will speak louder than the words of the Taliban as they have assured a humane rule this time around as against their barbaric practices in the 1990s.
Addressing the media after an emergency Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms (COBRA) meeting on Afghanistan, Johnson said that the UK’s “political and diplomatic efforts” to solve the crisis will include “working with the Taliban” as well, if necessary.