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Blinken: US diplomatic presence in Kabul suspended

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed Washington's diplomatic presence in Kabul has been suspended following the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

Washington, 31 August 2021 (dpa/MIA) — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed Washington’s diplomatic presence in Kabul has been suspended following the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

“As of today we have suspended our diplomatic presence in Kabul and transferred our operations to Doha, Qatar,” Blinken said, calling the move “the prudent step to take” considering the security environment in Afghanistan.

Blinken also said that some 6,000 US citizens who “self-identified as Americans in Afghanistan who are considering leaving the country” were either evacuated or left the country.

“We believe there are still a small number of Americans, under 200 and likely closer to 100 who remain in Afghanistan and want to leave. We are trying to determine exactly how many.”

Blinken said the US would “hold the Taliban to its pledge to let people freely depart Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, has told journalists via video link that no US civilians were able to make it to the airport to leave on the last few flights out of Kabul.

The general said that he believed that Washington would manage to evacuate the US civilians left behind, whom he said numbered in the “very low hundreds.”

“We are also going to negotiate very hard, very aggressively, to get our Afghan partners out,” he added.

“The military phase of this operation has ended. The diplomatic sequel to that will now begin,” the general said.

He also confirmed that “every single US service member is now out of Afghanistan. I can say that with 100 percent certainty.”

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