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US President discusses Afghanistan with UAE, Spanish leaders



US President Joe Biden spoke with officials from the United Arab Emirates and Spain on Saturday in two separate phone calls as evacuation efforts continue in Afghanistan.

Thousands of Afghans rush to Hamid Karzai International Airport as they attempt to flee Kabul on August 16, 2021 [Getty]

US President Joe Biden met with his counterparts in the United Arab Emirates and Spain on Saturday to discuss the latest developments in Afghanistan, where the US evacuation allowed Taliban militants to seize Kabul and take control of most of the country.

Biden discussed the ongoing evacuation efforts on Saturday in a phone call with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, expressing his gratitude for the UAE’s support in keeping US citizens safe, the diplomatic personnel and vulnerable Afghan nationals.

Kabul airport has been the scene of desperate scenes since the Taliban took control of the capital on August 15, with tens of thousands of Afghans waiting in the heat for hours, if not days, to try to take an evacuation flight. At least three people were crushed outside Kabul airport as crowds rushed to the entrance.

The UAE has so far facilitated the evacuation of 8,500 people from Afghanistan on board their planes and through their airports. He also agreed to welcome 5,000 Afghan nationals en route to a third country at the request of the United States, the foreign ministry of the Arab State of the Gulf announced on Friday.

The collaboration between the United States and the United Arab Emirates in Afghanistan reflects the close ties between the two, including close security cooperation. Biden and Bin Zayed agreed to work together to address regional and global challenges, says phone call playback between the two leaders.

Separately, Biden thanked Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez for Spain’s leadership in rallying international support for Afghan women and girls and for helping to temporarily house vulnerable Afghans destined for the United States at bases. soldiers from Rota and Moron.

Biden and Sanchez are working together to safely evacuate their citizens, as well as the Afghans “who courageously supported the work of the EU mission,” and other vulnerable Afghan nationals, according to a phone call playback.

Biden has been widely criticized for his lack of preparation to evacuate thousands of people to safety. The sudden victory of the Taliban has raised fears of a large-scale humanitarian crisis both in Afghanistan and possibly involving waves of refugees seeking asylum abroad, including in Western Europe.

The US president defended his decision to withdraw his troops from Afghanistan after 20 years of conflict.

“I am the President of the United States of America and the responsibility ends with me,” Biden said earlier this week in a much-anticipated White House televised address.

“I strongly support my decision. After 20 years, I have learned the hard way that there is never a good time to withdraw US forces.”