U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a news conference with Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani following a signing ceremony at the State Department in Washington, D.C. on November 12 , 2021. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
UPDATED 5:20 PM PT – Friday, November 12, 2021
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken secured a proxy in the Middle East to represent America’s interests in Afghanistan.
Meeting with his counterpart in Qatar on Friday, Blinken said Qatar will act as America’s “protecting power.” This means the Gulf State will act on behalf of American diplomats in the country when it comes to getting stranded Americans out of Afghanistan.
Additionally, Qatari diplomats will mediate negotiations between the U.S. and Taliban. Secretary Blinken stressed the move aims to bolster relations with the Middle Eastern country in the aftermath from America’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“It reflects a powerful reality, which is the growing strength of the relationship between the United States and Qatar, expanding shared security and economic interests, cooperation on many regional challenges, and growing people to people ties, among other things,” said Blinken. “The events in Afghanistan over the past couple months reinforce that partnership.”
In the meantime, the remaining Americans and allies stranded in Afghanistan have been advised to coordinate evacuation efforts with Qatari officials.