Qatar denies “responsibility” for Kabul airport without the Taliban

Qatar denies “responsibility” for Kabul airport without the Taliban

Qatar has said it will not take responsibility for Kabul airport without “clear” agreements with all parties involved, including the Taliban, regarding its operations.
Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said his country could not take responsibility for airport operations if all the problems were not clearly treated.

“For the moment, the status is still [under] negotiation ”, he declared

Doha has become a key intermediary in Afghanistan following the withdrawal last month of US-led NATO forces, helping to evacuate thousands of foreigners and Afghans, engaging the new Taliban leadership and supporting operations in Kabul airport.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Al Jazeera the group is now securing and operating the site, saying it was in talks with Qatar and Turkey over the future of the facility.

Keep control

The armed group has repeatedly stated that it will not accept any foreign military presence in the country after August 31. However, Sheikh Mohammed reportedly said Qatar is urging the Taliban to accept foreign aid.

The Taliban had asked Turkey to handle logistics while maintaining security control, and Ankara said it was still evaluating the offer. However, with the Taliban insisting on total security control, Turkey seems less enthusiastic.

A key incentive to operate a functioning airport would be the boost it gives to the international image of the Taliban.

Since the withdrawal of the United States, Qatar Airways planes have made several trips to Kabul, carrying aid and representatives from Doha and carrying foreign passport holders.

The two-decade US intervention in Afghanistan ended with the hasty airlift of more than 120,000 people from Kabul when the Taliban returned to power.

The United States withdrew its last troops from Afghanistan on August 30, ending its longest war just before the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks that sparked its invasion.


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