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US Continues Diplomatic Outreach to Host At-risk Afghans

FILE - The U.S. State Department building in Washington.
FILE - The U.S. State Department building in Washington.

The United States is reaching out to dozens of countries to host at-risk Afghans while accelerating the evacuation of American citizens and diplomats.

Early Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris received a briefing by the White House national security team on the situation in Afghanistan.

“They discussed efforts to accelerate evacuations of U.S. citizens, Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants and other vulnerable Afghans, and to facilitate safe passage to Hamid Karzai International Airport,” plus the monitoring of potential terrorist threats, a White House official said.

In a separate call, the White House said Biden spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on “the need for close coordination on the provision of humanitarian aid for vulnerable Afghans in country as well as support for neighboring states.”

The White House said the U.S., Germany and Britain have agreed to hold a virtual Group of Seven leaders meeting next week to discuss a "common strategy and approach.”

Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with his counterparts from U.S. allies, including Canada, Kuwait and Qatar, about the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan, as well as efforts to bring vulnerable Afghans to safety.

As the U.S. continued to evacuate Americans and diplomats, Kuwait and Qatar said they were facilitating the transit of U.S. citizens and embassy personnel through their countries.

Canada was also helping to host at-risk Afghans.

"The secretary expressed his profound appreciation to Canada for resettling 20,000 vulnerable Afghans and for Canada’s ongoing coordination with international efforts to address the situation in Afghanistan,” according to a State Department statement.

U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland was said to be leading the U.S. outreach efforts to dozens of countries, including in the Balkans and Africa, to host Afghan refugees.

“We deeply appreciate Uganda’s generous offer of assistance to host Afghanistan evacuees on a temporary basis. We have not yet made a final determination of assistance requirements in Uganda and discussions with the government of Uganda concerning the situation in Afghanistan are ongoing,” a State Department spokesperson told VOA.

White House Correspondent Patsy Widakuswara contributed to this report.