Thursday, September 02, 2021
“as soon as possible”
Qatar and Taliban working on reopening airport
Qatar’s foreign minister is confident that his country will soon be able to bring Kabul airport back into service. He calls on the Taliban to allow Afghans to leave the country safely. His British counterpart also wants to make sure.
The Gulf state of Qatar is working with the radical Islamist Taliban to reopen the airport in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said: “We are confident that we can put it into operation as soon as possible.” He called on Islamists now ruling Afghanistan to allow safe migration.
“It is very important that the Taliban pledge to allow safe passage and freedom of movement for the Afghan people,” al-Thani said. Qatar is working with Islamists and also with Turkey. “Hopefully we will get good news in the next few days.”
“We have to adapt to the new reality,” said British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, who was in Doha for talks with his counterpart. “Our immediate priority is to ensure the safe evacuation of the remaining British nationals as well as Afghans and others working for Britain who may be most at risk.”
Taliban explicitly asked for technicians
On Wednesday, a Qatar Airways plane landed in Kabul for talks with a technical team to resume operations at the airport. Informed sources said the technicians were sent to Afghanistan at the request of the Taliban.
It was the first landing since the last American troops had left. The US military had secured the capital’s airport even after the radical Islamic Taliban came to power in Kabul. During the evacuation operations, more than 123,000 foreigners and Afghans were able to leave the country.
Of those who were evacuated, around 43,000 were initially brought to Qatar. The Emirates maintains close ties with the Taliban. Even before coming to power, the Qatari government played a central role in negotiations between Islamists and the international community.
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