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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Doha ‘centre of diplomatic relations with Afghanistan’: Italy FM

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Several countries have asked Qatar for permission to relocate their Afghanistan embassies to Doha following the Taliban take over.

Italy is set to move its Kabul embassy to Qatar, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said in the Gulf capital on Sunday, joining other western countries in carrying out diplomatic operations from Doha.

Di Maio’s statement came during is visit to Qatar, ahead of his meeting with Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

Qatari aid arrives in Kabul as commercial flights expected to resume ‘soon’

“Qatar has become the centre of diplomatic relations with respect to this Afghan government that is being formed,” Di Maio said.

A meeting between the two foreign ministers reviewed bilateral ties as well as the latest political and security developments in Afghanistan while discussing means of joint coordination to combat terrorism.

Italy has successfully evacuated 5,011 people, including 4,890 Afghans in the weeks-long airlift of people from Kabul. Among the Afghan evacuees were 1,301 women and 1,453 children.

Countries including the Netherlands, the UK, Japan and the US have already asked Qatar to host their Kabul embassies.

This came after the Taliban captured control of Kabul on 15 August, triggering a mass exodus of Afghans desperate to flee a country facing decades of war, poverty and corruption.

However, foreigners and Afghans who worked with the west have been left behind and are now awaiting the re-opening of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport for civilian flights.

On Saturday, Kabul’s airport opened for the first time since foreign troops withdraw on 31 August, allowing aid to enter the country. Domestic flights were also relaunched.

Qatar said it will begin operating daily aid flights to Afghanistan over the next few days, with 17 tonnes of much needed aid arriving in Kabul on Sunday.


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