Pentagon chief speaks with Qatari Emir after US exit from Afghanistan

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US Defense Secretary Lloyd J Austin III. (File photo)
US Defense Secretary Lloyd J Austin III. (File photo)

Washington DC [US], September 1 (ANI): Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin spoke with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the US troops from the country after 20-year military presence.

"Secretary Austin conveyed appreciation for Qatar's critical support to U.S. operations in Afghanistan, including its generous help in facilitating the safe transit of U.S. citizens, Embassy Kabul personnel, and at-risk Afghans through Qatar. Both leaders pledged to continue cooperation on regional security issues," the US Department of Defense said on Tuesday.

Late on Monday, the US announced the completion of their drawdown from Afghanistan. Qatar is said to have played a vital role in mediating talks with the Taliban, hosting peace negotiations between the group and Washington.

Besides Qatari Emir, Austin spoke with several foreign leaders over phone to thank them for their help in the US military's withdrawal of troops and evacuation of at-risk Afghans from the war-ravaged country.

Austin had a phone conversation with several world leaders including Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Norwegian Minister of Defense Frank Bakke-Jensen, UAE Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Canadian Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan and German Federal Minister of Defense Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

As foreign forces concluded their drawdown from Kabul, the United States said that they have entered a "new chapter" of engagement with Afghanistan.

"And our work continues, as you heard from the Secretary (Anthony Blinken). A new chapter of America's engagement with Afghanistan has begun," US Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said in a press briefing. (ANI)

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