Qatari Foreign Minister visits Kabul for first high-level meeting with Taliban

Qatar’s foreign minister held talks in Afghanistan on Sunday, becoming the highest-ranking official to visit the country since the Taliban took office on August 15.

A Taliban official tweeted that Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani met with senior officials from the new Afghan regime, although details were not released.

The group posted images of Sheikh Mohammad meeting with new Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, while photos of him with former President Hamid Karzai circulated on social media.

In Doha, the Foreign Ministry confirmed that it held meetings with the new Afghan government, as well as with Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, a former chief peace negotiator for the ousted government.

Sheikh Mohammad “urged Afghan officials to involve all Afghan parties in national reconciliation,” he said.

The talks covered “the latest developments related to the operation of the Kabul airport and the guarantee of freedom of passage and travel for all,” it said in a statement.

The ministry said that “the two sides stressed the importance of concerted efforts to combat terrorist organizations.”

Qatar has long acted as a mediator in Afghanistan, organizing Taliban talks with the United States under former President Donald Trump, and then with the now-deposed Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani.

It is also supporting tens of thousands of Afghans who were evacuated in the last weeks of the US-led occupation while they are being processed before heading to other nations.

No country has yet formally recognized the new Taliban government, and only three did so during the hardline Islamists’ first rule from 1996 to 2001.

(AFP)

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