By ROBERT BURNS
AP National Security Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are heading to the Persian Gulf to begin managing a transition to post-Afghan war relationships with traditional allies in the Middle East and beyond who were partners in the failed war against the Taliban and the concluding evacuation. Austin planned to start by thanking the leaders of Qatar and other Arab Gulf states whose cooperation during the Kabul airlift helped clear an initially clogged pipeline of desperate evacuees. Qatar also is hosting the American diplomatic mission that withdrew from Kabul at war’s end. Blinken also will visit Germany.