Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani and the visiting US secretaries of state and defence discussed developments in Afghanistan and efforts to enhance security in the country, the emir's court said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, right, fist-bumps Ambassador John Desrocher, left, at Old Doha Airport in Qatar's capital on September 6, 2021.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, right, fist-bumps Ambassador John Desrocher, left, at Old Doha Airport in Qatar's capital on September 6, 2021. (AP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Qatar as Washington seeks support for the evacuation of Americans and at-risk Afghans left behind in Afghanistan and build a consensus among allies on how to respond to the Taliban.

A senior State Department official told reporters on Blinken's flight that Washington has facilitated the safe departure of four more Americans overland from Afghanistan.

"This is the first overland evacuation facilitated by the State Department," the official said, adding that the Taliban were aware of the operation and did not impede safe passage of the individuals.

The official did not name the country they transited to.

Qatar's ruling Emir and the visiting US secretaries of state and defence 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 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin after their arrival in Doha earlier in the day.

READ MORE: Taliban claims 'complete control' of Afghan province of Panjshir

'Thank you tour'

Dubbed as a "thank you" tour to Qatar and Germany, which were instrumental in helping Washington evacuate thousands of people out of Kabul, Blinken will meet with senior Qatari and German officials. 

In Germany he will also co-host a ministerial meeting on Afghanistan.

Qatar has emerged as the main mediator between the Taliban, who swept into Kabul on August 15, and Western countries following the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Doha said on Saturday it had reopened Kabul airport for humanitarian aid and domestic flights in coordination with the group. 

Other international flights are expected to resume soon, it said. Daily flights have been scheduled from Doha to Kabul to deliver aid.

About 124,000 people were evacuated last month from Kabul in a US-led airlift of US and other foreign citizens as well as vulnerable Afghans as the Taliban took control of the country.

The evacuation was one of the largest airlifts in history but thousands of at-risk Afghans and about 100 US citizens have remained behind. 

Blinken has vowed to continue efforts to get them out and also hold the Taliban to their commitment to provide safe passage to anyone who wishes to leave.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, who is travelling to the Gulf on a separate trip, will also visit Qatar on Tuesday. Austin's visit also includes Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

READ MORE: How international actors laid the groundwork for Taliban rule

UK vows to get 311 Afghan support staff out

Meanwhile, UK on Monday said it would do its utmost to rescue more than 300 Afghans who helped its armed forces but are now languishing under the new Taliban regime.

Addressing parliament, Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed to answer a question on how many British-Afghans remained after a hurried Western airlift was ended.

Thousands made it out from Kabul on packed Royal Air Force planes, but he said 311 people were left behind who are eligible for the UK's Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy, such as interpreters.

"We will do everything we can to ensure that those people get the safe passage that they deserve," Johnson said.

The airlift was "one of the most spectacular operations in our country's post-war history", he said, vowing an "equal effort" to house and educate Afghans newly arrived in Britain.

Johnson demanded the Taliban honour commitments to allow out those wishing to leave, and to respect women's rights, if the militia wants to gain access to billions of dollars in Afghan funds frozen overseas.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by Al Qaeda, the prime minister pressed the Taliban in particular to prevent Afghanistan becoming a haven for extremists to launch attacks abroad.

READ MORE: Why is the Taliban looking unstoppable in Afghanistan?

Source: TRTWorld and agencies