Qatar says it will not take responsibility for Kabul airport without a “clear” agreement with all parties involved, including the Taliban, over its operations.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said his country would not take responsibility for airport operations if all issues are not clearly addressed.
“At the moment, the status quo is still [under] negotiations,” he said
Doha has become a key broker in Afghanistan following the recent withdrawal of US-led NATO forces, helping to evacuate thousands of foreigners and Afghans, engaging new Taliban rulers, and supporting operations at Kabul airport.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Al Jazeera that the group was now securing and operating the site, proving that it was in talks with Qatar and Turkey about the future of the facility.
The armed group has repeatedly said it would not accept a foreign military presence in the country after 31 August.
The Taliban had asked Turkey to handle the logistics while maintaining control over security and Ankara said it was still evaluating the offer. However, with the Taliban insisting on full security control, Turkey appears to be less enthusiastic.
A key incentive to operate a functional airport would be the boost it would give the Taliban’s international image.
Since the US withdrawal, Qatar Airways planes have made several trips to Kabul, flying in aid and delivering Doha representatives and foreign passports.
The two-decade US intervention in Afghanistan ended with the forced air lift of more than 120,000 people from Kabul when the Taliban came to power.
The United States withdrew its last troops from Afghanistan on 30 August, ending its longest war just before the September 11, 2001 anniversary, with attacks leading to its invasion.