Middle East

Qatar's Emir discusses Afghanistan with U.S. secretaries of state and defense

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is welcomed upon his arrival by Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director of Protocol Ambassador Ibrahim Fakhroo, at Old Airport in Doha, Qatar September 6, 2021. Blinken is meeting with Qatari leaders to thank the nation for its support in the Afghanistan evacuation efforts and to discuss the future of U.S.-Afghanistan relations. Olivier Douliery/Pool via REUTERS

CAIRO, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Qatar's ruling emir and the visiting U.S. secretaries of state and defense discussed developments in Afghanistan and efforts to enhance security there, the emir's court said on Monday.

The emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, received U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin after their arrival in Doha earlier in the day.

The visit came as Washington sought support for the evacuation of Americans and at-risk Afghans left behind in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover and for building a consensus among allies on how to respond to the new Islamist rulers.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement Blinken and Austin thanked al-Thani "for Qatar’s extraordinary support in facilitating the safe transit of U.S. citizens, our partners, and other Afghans at-risk."

Price added they discussed other "bilateral issues and initiatives to promote regional security and prosperity."

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Reporting by Ahmad Elhamy in Cairo and David Shepardson in Washington Editing by Mark Heinrich and Sandra Maler

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