Qatar initially sent a technical team to Afghanistan on Wednesday upon the Taliban’s request.
Qatar is helping to facilitate the opening of humanitarian corridors for the entry of aid to Kabul and other Afghan ports, a senior Qatari official said on Friday.
“There are three parties engaged in discussions to resume operations at Kabul Airport. This includes Qatari technicians who have been on the ground for 48 hours to negotiate the steps that need to be taken,” Dr. Mutlaq bin Majed Al Qahtani, Qatar’s Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Counterterrorism and Mediation in Conflict Resolution said.
A Qatari source with knowledge of the situation told Doha News that Dr. Al Qahtani was onboard the third Qatari jet to land in Kabul’s airport on Friday.
The facility has been closed since foreign troops withdrew ahead of the 31 August deadline.
“As an impartial mediator in this process, Qatar has engaged with all sides,” the Qatari envoy added.
“As of now, our priority with the Taliban includes guaranteeing a peaceful transfer of power and ensuring an inclusive and effective government is formed to serve the Afghan people,” he said.
Qatar has been closely working with the international community to evacuate Afghans and foreigners since the Taliban took over Kabul on 15 August.
The Gulf state – a key mediator between the former Afghan government, the Taliban and Western powers – has placed the resumption of operations on the civilian side of the Hamid Karzai International Airport at the top of its priorities.
Discussions held in Kabul are building on Doha’s previous efforts with international partners to ensure “a comprehensive political settlement for lasting peace” in the war-torn country is reached, that would also “fulfil the aspirations of its people for security, stability and development”, the source told Doha News.
Several countries – the US, UK, Netherlands and Japan – have asked Qatar to relocate their embassies in Kabul to Doha where they can resume diplomatic operations.
“Qatar also continues to work closely with the international community…to provide safe corridors and freedom of movement for those in Afghanistan and continue cooperation in the fight against terrorism to prevent any future instability in the region,” the Qatari source added.
Commenting on the cooperation between the international community, the Taliban and Qatar, Doha’s Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah Al Khater told CNN earlier this week that “it will be a chance to facilitate a real discussion around the contested issues”.
On Wednesday, a Qatari technical team arrived in Kabul’s airport on a Qatar Airways-branded plane, making it the first aircraft to arrive at the facility following the completion of the troop withdrawal.
The Qatari jet carried a technical team to discuss the resumption of operations at the airport, sources confirmed to Doha News at the time.
The team launched the discussions based on a Taliban request, however no final agreement has yet been reached, the sources added, noting talks are still ongoing at the level of security and operation.