U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken defended the country’s decision to end its military presence in Afghanistan after 20 years and begin its diplomatic one in a press briefing Monday, even as more than 100 Americans remain stranded in the Taliban-controlled nation. “A new chapter with Afghanistan has begun,” Blinken said. “It’s one in which we will lead with our diplomacy. The military mission is over. A new diplomatic mission has begun.” He said the mission would be based in Doha, Qatar, due to security concerns in Kabul. “It was the prudent step to take,” he said.
Blinken also reaffirmed the country’s pledge to evacuate any remaining Americans seeking to leave, a figure he described as “under 200, and likely closer to 100,” and committed to provide humanitarian support to Afghan citizens through independent partners. “We believe we can accomplish far more and exert far greater leverage when we work in coordination with our allies and partners,” Blinken said.