Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Diplomats express 'frustration' to Blinken over Havana syndrome skepticism: report Biden's post-Afghanistan focus on China is mostly positive so far MORE and Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinSchumer moves to break GOP blockade on Biden's State picks Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Afghan evacuation still frustrates Diplomats express 'frustration' to Blinken over Havana syndrome skepticism: report MORE on Sunday both departed for the Persian Gulf on Sunday to meet with allies in the Middle East and Europe to reassess the U.S.'s relationships in the region.
The two administration officials left separately to speak with overseas leaders crucial to U.S. efforts to prevent extremism from reemerging in Afghanistan in light of Taliban's takeover, The Associated Press reports.
The diplomatic trips are meant to reassure allies in the region that despite Biden's decision to end the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, he is still committed to America's Middle Eastern partners.
Blinken is schedule to land in Doha, Qatar on Sunday and then travel to Ramstein, Germany on Wednesday.
Dean Thompson, acting assistant secretary in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, addressed Blinken's upcoming trips on Friday, saying they will "underscore our enduring partnerships with these countries as well as our deep gratitude for their support for our ongoing efforts on Afghanistan."
According to Thompson, Blinken will express the U.S.'s gratitude to these countries for their efforts in aiding the U.S. in Afghanistan and helping in the subsequent evacuations.
Austin will be travelling to Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, according to a statement from the Defense Department.
"Throughout his trip, Secretary Austin will meet with regional partners and thank them for their cooperation with the United States as we evacuated Americans, Afghans and citizens from other nations from Afghanistan," said Pentagon press secretary John KirbyJohn KirbyPentagon chief orders review of deadly drone strike in Afghanistan DHS asks Pentagon to help move migrants from Del Rio, Texas The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Pfizer deems COVID vaccine 'safe' for children 5+ MORE.
"He will reaffirm our strong defense relationships in the region. Secretary Austin will also meet with U.S. service members and U.S. government personnel to thank them for the skill and professionalism with which they conducted the evacuation."
Blinken and Austin will not be meeting with Taliban officials during their trips through the Middle East.