Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby provided the following readout:

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met on September 7 with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in Manama, Bahrain, to thank them for Bahrain’s exceptional support in facilitating the safe transit of evacuees from Afghanistan. He affirmed the strength of the U.S.-Bahrain relationship, expressed his goal of deepening the defense partnership, and thanked the Bahraini leaders for their commitment to hosting U.S. forces in Bahrain.  

Separately, today the Secretary met with the Commander in Chief of the Bahrain Defense Force (BDF), Field Marshall Khalifa bin Ahmad Al Khalifa to thank him for his support for Operation ALLIES REFUGE, and to reaffirm his commitment to advancing the U.S.-Bahrain defense partnership. He also met with members of Task Force 58, which was responsible for working with the BDF to facilitate the safe evacuation of personnel from Afghanistan through Bahrain. 

The Secretary expressed his gratitude to U.S. service members, State Department personnel, and interagency staff for their efforts and contributions. Secretary Austin also had the opportunity to meet and thank members of the BDF for their partnership and support during the historic evacuation operations.

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