US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are visiting Arab Gulf states where they are expected to meet several regional leaders. The two US officials are travelling on a separate itinerary which also includes Europe, hoping to build some support after the aftermath of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The trip will also serve to reassure allies of US support and the rejection of extremism.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said that Secretary Austin will meet with regional partners thanking them for their co-operation in evacuating vulnerable people out of Afghanistan. Austin will meet leaders in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
As for Blinken, spokesman Ned Price said that he is also visiting Doha with a stop in Germany on the way back to Washington. In Germany, Blinken will meet with Afghan evacuees who are still being processed at Ramstein Air Base.
Gulf states are key US allies and central in the US efforts to prevent a resurgence of extremist threat in Afghanistan under Taliban’s rule. The visit will serve to clear out that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan is to focus on other global challenges and does not entail an abandonment by the US of its allies.
Similar to his predecessor, Biden has stated that China is the top security priority under his administration.