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Friday, October 22, 2021

Top Qatari official says negotiations, dialogue with Taliban doesn’t require recognition

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The sixth passenger flight departed Kabul to Doha on Wednesday carrying members of the Afghan men cricket team.

A top Qatari official said holding dialogue with the Taliban does not require recognition of the group, as world powers hesitate to approach the militant group.

Speaking to Foreign Policy on Tuesday, Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah Al Khater said the Taliban knows that it requires international recognition and wants to present a change in governance style that that seen during its previous rule in the late 90’s.

She also said there is an urgent need for the international community to place a clear road map to formally specify the exact outcomes needed from the Taliban.

Commenting on the signing of the February agreement last year in Qatar between the US and the Taliban, Al Khater said an image of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seen standing next to the head of the militants’ political office and current Afghanistan Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar,  does not indicate Washington’s acceptance of the group’s actions.

Al Khater also stressed the importance of providing Afghanistan with necessary aid to address the country’s growing humanitarian crisis, which has worsened after two decades of war and in light of the latest developments.

Director of the World Food Programme in Afghanistan Mary-Ellen McGroarty said on Wednesday that the crisis is growing at “an incredible pace” and it is now a matter of “race against time” before winter comes.

“We have a harsh winter in Afghanistan. With fuel prices going up, people are going to struggle to feed themselves and keep themselves warm,” she said.

More than 18 million people were already in need of humanitarian assistance even before the Taliban captured Kabul on 15 August. Two million children are now at risk of severe malnourishment.

“I had women crying at me for food, because, again, the work has dried up. There is no work. There is no opportunity to find food,” she added, commenting on the current situation in Afghanistan.

Afghans have also started selling their belongings out on the streets amid a severe economic and financial crisis.

Meanwhile, an ISIS-affiliate is also posing a major threat in Afghanistan, carrying out several attacks across the country since its re-emergence.

The terrorist group claimed Sunday’s bombing at Kabul’s Eid Gah Mosque where five civilians were killed. It was also responsible for the 26 August bombing near Hamid Karzai International Airport where at least 169 Afghans were killed.

Torn between uncertainty and fear, many Afghans and foreigners have continued to flee the country onboard flights facilitated by Qatar.

Read also: Macron lays out conditions for Taliban ahead of G20 summit

On Wednesday, a sixth passenger flight departed Kabul to Doha, carrying more than 300 passengers. It was the largest such flight to leave the country since 31 August.

Onboard was Afghanistan’s Cricket team in addition to citizens from several countries.

Responding to a question over allowing cricket in Afghanistan under the current Taliban rule, Al Khater said the team will be attending a training camp to participate in an upcoming championship.

“[T]o be factual the request to help facilitate their travel came from the Interim Government in Afghanistan,” she noted.


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