US seeks stronger diplomacy, security with Qatar

The United States has taken steps to strengthen its diplomatic relations with Qatar, which has key ties with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with Qatari Amir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha on Monday.

The State Department said in a statement that US officials thanked the Amir for Qatar's support in helping the safe transit of US citizens, their partners and at-risk Afghans from Afghanistan.

The statement said they "also discussed other important bilateral issues and initiatives to promote regional security and prosperity."

The US has troops deployed in Qatar and views the country as a strategic hub in the Middle East and Central Asia.

After withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, the US relocated its diplomatic base to Qatar, partly because the Taliban have a political office there.

The US sees Qatar as an increasingly important country, in light of the ongoing challenges in Afghanistan. Many Afghans and US citizens have fled Afghanistan in recent weeks, with growing concerns that the country will become a hotbed for terrorism.