US embassy in Kabul ‘suspends operations’ indefinitely

·2-min read
File: A US military aircraft is parked on the tarmac of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan (AP)
File: A US military aircraft is parked on the tarmac of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan (AP)

The United States embassy in Kabul announced the suspension of operations on Tuesday after the complete withdrawal of military troops from Afghanistan.

“While the US government has withdrawn its personnel from Kabul, we will continue to assist US citizens and their families in Afghanistan from Doha, Qatar,” the embassy’s website said.

The US completed the pullout of its forces from Kabul before dawn on Tuesday, ending its 20-year war in the country.

According to the Pentagon, over 1,23,000 people, including 6,000 American citizens, have been airlifted out of Afghanistan since 14 August. However, in a hasty departure from Kabul, the US has left behind 100-200 of its own citizens and thousands of Afghans waiting to flee the country.

“The last US soldier has left Kabul airport and our country gained complete independence,” Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf was quoted as saying.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday said that the US has shut down its diplomatic mission in Kabul and will operate from Doha.

Addressing the nation, Mr Blinken said: “A new chapter of America’s engagement with Afghanistan has begun. It’s one in which we will lead with our diplomacy. The military mission is over. A new diplomatic mission has begun.”

He informed that the transfer of operations to Doha will be soon formally notified to Congress. “Given the uncertain security environment and political situation in Afghanistan, it was the prudent step to take,” Mr Blinken added.

Washington will use the post in Doha to manage diplomacy with Afghanistan, including consular affairs, administering humanitarian assistance, and working with allies, partners, and regional and international stakeholders. The top diplomat said that the US will stay focused on counterterrorism.

“The Taliban has made a commitment to prevent terrorist groups from using Afghanistan as a base for external operations that could threaten the United States or our allies, including Al-Qaeda and the Taliban’s sworn enemy, Isis-K. Here too, we will hold them accountable to that commitment,” he added.

During the last leg of the evacuation process, over 180 people, including 13 US marines were killed in multiple bombings outside the Kabul airport on 26 August. The Islamic state’s eastern wing called Isis-K, which considers both the US and the Taliban as its enemy, claimed responsibility for the attack.

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