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Friday, January 28, 2022

Qatar’s FM meets Taliban’s Baradar as world urges peaceful transition of power


Several members of the Afghan government are heading to Qatar.

Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani met with a Taliban delegation headed by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar on Tuesday to discuss the latest political developments in Afghanistan, said Doha’s foreign ministry [MOFA].

“[Al-Thani and Baradar] emphasised the importance of protecting civilians and intensifying the necessary efforts to achieve national reconciliation and work on a comprehensive political settlement” Ambassador Ahmed Bin Saeed Bin Jabor Al Romaihi tweeted.

The meeting comes as a delegation from the Afghan government is said to be heading to Qatar to hold talks with the Taliban over the future governance of the country, after the latter took control following its capture of Kabul on Sunday.

The delegation includes Head of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah, former president Hamid Karzai and Islamic Party leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

However, Afghanistan’s Pajhwok news outlet on Tuesday said the visit of the three diplomats has been postponed, without providing further information.

Afghanistan is now at a critical point and world powers are rallying for a political resolution to the rapidly developing situation. The Taliban captured Kabul on Sunday without a fight after weeks of seizing provincial capitals amid a US and NATO troop pull out from the country.

Since then, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country to Tajikistan, claiming he was “preventing bloodshed”.

World reacts to Taliban takeover of Afghanistan

The developments in Afghanistan have created a state of panic among Afghans who rushed to the Hamid Karzai International Airport, many of which attempting to flee the country.

Qatar has called for a peaceful transfer of power and a ceasefire across all territories in Afghanistan. The Gulf state also joined over 50 countries in calling for “a safe and orderly departure” for Afghans and foreign nationals.

“Those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan bear responsibility—and accountability—for the protection of human life and property, and for the immediate restoration of security and civil order,” read the joint statement, released by the US Department of State.

Images showing a C-17 Globemaster II cargo jet carrying some 640 Afghans believed to be headed to Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base also surfaced online.

In response to the events in Afghanistan, Secretary-General of the United Nations [UN] António Guterres urged the world to accept Afghan refugees.

“As the world is following events in Afghanistan with a heavy heart, I urge all countries to be willing to receive Afghan refugees & refrain from deportations. Afghans have known generations of war & hardship. They deserve our full support. Now is the time for solidarity,” the UN chief said.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden defended the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan even after the Taliban takeover.

“I stand squarely behind my decision … the developments of the past week reinforce that ending US military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision,” he said in a speech. 

Last month, Biden had rejected worries that a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was inevitable as well as claims of the Afghan government’s collapse.

“You have the Afghan troops at 300,000, as well equipped as any army in the world, and an Air Force, against something like 75,000 Taliban. It is not inevitable,” said Biden during a July press conference.

Afghanistan was placed on crisis mode since President Biden announced his decision to withdraw American and NATO forces from Afghanistan by 11 September after two decades of combat in the country.
Diplomats around the world said the decision was sudden and rebuked Washington for failing to ensure the pullout is completed with a proper peace plan.

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