Qatar works with Taliban to reopen Kabul airport
Sylvie Claire / September 2, 2021
Qatar is working with the Taliban to reopen the Kabul airport as soon as possible, the foreign minister said Thursday, while noting that no agreement had yet been reached on this issue.
We will remain confident that we can manage the operations as soon as possible, Mohammed bin Abderrahmane Al-Thani said at a press conference in Doha with his British counterpart Dominic Raab. There is no agreement yet, he said, however. We are still in the evaluation stage. There is no clear indication of when it will be fully operational but we are working hard, added the Qatari minister, whose country has close ties with the Islamist Taliban movement that seized power in Kabul on August 15. It is very important that the Taliban demonstrate their commitment to provide safe passage (out of the country) and freedom of movement for the Afghan people, he continued, noting that the talks also included Turkey, if it can provide technical assistance at this stage. We hope to have good news in the coming days, the minister said.
Qatar, which sent a Boeing C-17A Globemaster to Kabul on Wednesday, is currently the focus of international attention for its ability to communicate with the new masters of Kabul. The wealthy Gulf state had also been a mediator in the peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban before the Islamists took power. The Taliban celebrated their victory in Afghanistan on Tuesday, the day after the last American soldiers left. The withdrawal ended a 20-year war triggered by the intervention of an international coalition led by the United States to drive the Taliban from power, in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on American soil.
The return of the Islamists to power forced Westerners to evacuate their nationals and Afghans likely to suffer reprisals from the Taliban, particularly for having worked for foreign forces, in a hurry from Kabul airport.