Kandahar witnessed the arrival of Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al Sani and the Intelligence Chief Abdullah Al Khalifa. During their visit, they held a meeting with Taliban officials, including Afghanistan’s Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund, according to a tweet by Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid. The focus of the meeting was on strengthening bilateral relations, fostering trust, and promoting practical cooperation in the fields of education, healthcare, and economy in Afghanistan.
The Qatari delegation, headed by Abdullah Al-Khulaifi, the head of Qatari State Security (Intelligence Service), engaged in discussions with the Taliban representatives to enhance cooperation, build trust, and collaborate in various sectors such as education, healthcare, and economy. The importance of Qatar’s continued cooperation with the Afghan people was emphasized.
The heartfelt message from the Emir of Qatar was highly appreciated, and Qatar was encouraged to play a more significant role in fostering trust between the countries and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as mentioned in Mujahid’s tweet. Qatar’s role in facilitating discussions between the Islamic Emirate and the US government, leading to a peace deal in February 2020, was also acknowledged.
Qatar has maintained longstanding ties with the Taliban, even allowing them to establish an office in Doha in 2013 with the support of the US administration at that time, under President Barack Obama. This move was aimed at finding a neutral venue for negotiations with the Taliban to prepare for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Since 2018, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the Taliban’s founding members, has been leading their representation in Qatar, solidifying the relationship between the two. Qatar’s involvement is often criticized, but it also serves as a valuable intermediary in regional affairs.