WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday Qatar has agreed to represent U.S. interests in Afghanistan following the closure of the U.S. embassy in Kabul in late August.
Blinken made the announcement at a news conference after holding talks with Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
"Today, we're signing two new agreements that reflect our deepening collaboration on Afghanistan. The first establishes Qatar as the United States' protecting power in Afghanistan," said Blinken.
Qatar will establish a U.S. intersection within its embassy in Afghanistan to provide certain consular services and monitor the security condition of U.S. diplomatic facilities in Afghanistan, Blinken said.
"The second agreement formalizes our partnership with Qatar to facilitate the travel of Afghans with U.S. special immigrant visas, a role that it's already been playing in many instances and serve as a transit point for eligible Afghans as they complete their application process," said Blinken.
"Of the more than 124,000 people evacuated from Afghanistan in August, roughly half transited through Qatar," said Blinken.
The Qatari top diplomat said Qatar will "continue to be an instrument of peace and stability in the region."
"There is still much to be done in Afghanistan, and Qatar remains committed to continue the necessary work alongside with the United States and partners around the world," the minister said, adding "we are dedicated to contributing to the stability of Afghanistan and the safety and well-being of the Afghan people."
The United States completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan on Aug. 30, ending a 20-year invasion war in the Asian country. Over 2,400 U.S. troops had been killed in Afghanistan over the past two decades, with 20,000 wounded, according to the Pentagon. Estimates showed that over 66,000 Afghan troops had been killed, and over 2.7 million people had to leave their homes. Enditem