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China, Afghanistan tops Blinken’s India and Kuwait travel agenda




WASHINGTON Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit India and Kuwait next week for talks on China, the coronavirus and Afghanistan, the State Department said on Friday.

The trip comes as the Biden administration seeks to bolster U.S. leadership in vaccinating the world against COVID-19, tries to tone down China’s growing assertion and strives to evacuate vulnerable people from Afghanistan before the end of the US military withdrawal.

The State Department said Blinken will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday in New Delhi before traveling to Kuwait City the next day.

India is a key part of US efforts to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region and elsewhere. State Department spokesman Ned Price said Delhi’s agenda will include COVID-19 response efforts, Indo-Pacific engagement, shared regional security interests, shared democratic values and the fight against the climate crisis.

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Kuwait, along with Qatar, is one of many countries seen as possible hosts for thousands of Afghans who have worked for the United States and wish to be resettled in the United States before the complete withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan by the end of August.

The Biden administration hopes to evacuate approximately 4,000 Afghans who have served as translators and other support roles for US forces in Afghanistan and their families to US military bases in third countries while their visas are processed.

This is in addition to some 2,500 Afghans who have already completed security checks and will be staying at the Fort Lee military base in Virginia pending final approval of their visas starting next week.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.




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