US leaves Afghanistan for good, tells Taliban legitimacy will have to be earned thumbnail

US leaves Afghanistan for good, tells Taliban legitimacy will have to be earned

The last US soldier on Tuesday vacated Afghanistan, warning the Taliban that any legitimacy or support the new regime seeks will have to be “earned”.  

America’s top diplomat US Secretary of State Blinken, speaking just hours after the final US evacuation flights left Kabul, said Washington has suspended its diplomatic presence in Kabul as of Monday and shifted its operations to Qatar.

“Our troops have departed Afghanistan,” Blinken said. “A new chapter of America’s engagement with Afghanistan has begun.

“It’s one in which we will lead with our diplomacy. The military mission is over; a new diplomatic mission has begun.”

Blinken said the United States was committed to helping every American who wants to depart Afghanistan to leave the country.

He said a small number of US citizens remained in the country — “under 200” but likely closer to just 100 — and wanted to leave.

Blinken said the Taliban would need to live up to their commitments to provide freedom of travel, to respect the rights of women and minorities and to not allow the country to become a base for terrorism.

“Any legitimacy and any support will have to be earned,” Blinken said.