US defense secretary puts off scheduled visit to Saudi Arabia

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The top US defense official will no longer visit Saudi Arabia despite being scheduled to do so as part of a regional tour following the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

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Lloyd Austin was in the region to thank Washington's allies for their support and help during the chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan, which was ordered by US President Joe Biden last month.

Austin was scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia, but Pentagon officials said there was a “scheduling” conflict. His trip is expected to be rescheduled, but no date has been set.

Austin had started his tour of the Gulf with a visit to Qatar, where the US has its biggest base in the region, al-Udeid Air Base.

The defense secretary also made stops in Kuwait and Bahrain.

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