Qatar foreign minister becomes first foreign political leader to visit Afghanistan since Taliban takeover

Qatar's foreign minister visited Afghanistan--the first foreign leader to do so since the Taliban took power--and held talks with senior officials of the Taliban’s recently announced interim government

Sep 13, 2021
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Qatar's foreign minister visited Afghanistan

Qatar's foreign minister visited Afghanistan--the first foreign leader to do so since the Taliban took power--and held talks with senior officials of the Taliban’s recently announced interim government. Both discussed peace and reconciliation efforts and the operation of the Kabul Airport among other things.  Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Qatari foreign minister and deputy prime minister, called upon the Taliban to "involve all Afghan parties in national reconciliation" during his meeting with the Taliban’s Prime Minister Mullah Muhammad Hasan Akhund, according to a statement by Qatari Foreign Ministry.

Qatar, which emerged as a center of diplomacy between the West and the Taliban, maintains cordial relations with both parties. Significantly, the Taliban also maintains its political 0ffice in Doha. 

Significantly, Al-Thani also met with former Afghan president Hamid Karzai and the head of the former High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul and thanked the duo for their contribution to the peace talks in Doha.

More recently, the Gulf nation also played a very significant role in the evacuation drive undertaken by Western countries following the Taliban takeover in the country. In recent weeks, Qatar has also been sending humanitarian aid to Kabul as the country goes through a serious economic crisis.

During the meeting with Mullah Akhund, both sides discussed "concerted efforts to combat terrorist organizations that threaten the stability of Afghanistan", ways to enhance peace in the country, and the safe passage of people, according to Qatari Foreign Ministry.

Reuters reported, citing Taliban officials, that the meeting was focused on "bilateral relations, humanitarian assistance, economic development, and interaction with the world."

The meeting was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi, Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, Defence Minister Yaqoob Mujahid, Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, and intelligence chief Abdul Haq Wasiq.

Significantly, the statement issued by Qatar hasn’t referred to the Taliban’s government as the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”, as the group calls it; instead, it used the term “the newly appointed interim government of Afghanistan”. 

Doha has also been lobbying for humanitarian aid to the country and said it should flow without attaching any political goals and objectives.

(SAM)