Blinken Says American Diplomats Have Left Kabul

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Politics|Blinken says American diplomats person near Kabul, a stunning turnabout for 1 of the world’s largest U.S. embassies.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that American diplomats volition  stay  engaged successful  Afghanistan, but from extracurricular  its borders.
Credit...Pool photograph by Jonathan Ernst

Lara Jakes

  • Aug. 30, 2021Updated 7:48 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON — American diplomats person near Afghanistan, and the U.S. Embassy successful Kabul volition stay closed, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said connected Monday, aft the subject announced that it had completed its withdrawal from the country.

The disintegration of U.S. diplomacy was a stunning turnabout from plans to enactment and assistance Afghanistan modulation distant from 20 years of warfare and enactment toward peace, nevertheless tenuous, with a authorities that would stock powerfulness with the Taliban. Earlier this month, Mr. Blinken had pledged that the United States would stay “deeply engaged” successful Afghanistan agelong aft the subject left.

But that ngo was mostly dashed connected Aug. 15, erstwhile the Taliban precocious into the capital, Kabul, forcing President Ashraf Ghani to fly the state and American diplomats to evacuate to a compound secured by the U.S. subject astatine the planetary airport.

Mr. Blinken’s comments came arsenic the past U.S. subject flights departed Afghanistan, carrying a tiny halfway of diplomats who had tried to process migration visas for tens of thousands of Afghans and unafraid harmless transition for astir 6,000 American citizens successful a two-week evacuation ngo from the Kabul airport.

American diplomats volition stay engaged successful Afghanistan, but from extracurricular its borders. Mr. Blinken said the effort would present beryllium led retired of Qatar.

Of paramount value to the Biden medication are the radical — including a tiny fig of U.S. citizens — who were near behind. Mr. Blinken said less than 200 were inactive trying to leave.

Until recently, the embassy successful Kabul was 1 of the largest American diplomatic missions successful the world. Just weeks earlier it closed, and the American emblem extracurricular its office was lowered, the embassy’s unit numbered astir 4,000 employees, astir 1,400 of whom were U.S. diplomats, contractors and officials from different U.S. agencies.

Hundreds of American diplomats had served determination aft the embassy was reclaimed by Marines successful December 2001 during the U.S.-led invasion. It had been closed since 1989, erstwhile the Soviet subject withdrew from Afghanistan aft a 10-year war.

Before Kabul fell, President Biden had promised that the extremity of the warfare would bring the departure of American troops from Afghanistan, but not its diplomatic corps. Years of frustrated bid talks were acceptable to proceed betwixt the Taliban and the Afghan government, an effort mostly fostered by the United States.

“Even arsenic we retreat our forces from Afghanistan, the United States and our partners stay profoundly engaged,” Mr. Blinken said astatine the State Department connected Aug. 2. “Our concern with the radical of Afghanistan volition endure agelong aft our work members person departed. We volition support engaging intensely successful diplomacy to beforehand negotiations betwixt the Afghan authorities and the Taliban with the extremity of a governmental solution, which we judge is the lone way to lasting peace.”

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