Qatari Foreign Minister travels to Afghanistan to meet with the Taliban leadership

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Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani met with Taliban leaders in Kabul on Sunday in the first official visit by a foreign dignitary to Afghanistan since the fundamentalists took power. “Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani arrived in Kabul and met with the leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan at the presidential palace,” said Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi.

Another Taliban spokesman, Naeem Wardak, said on Twitter that the Qatari foreign minister visited Mullah Hassan Akhund, the prime minister of the interim government announced this week, at the head of a delegation. The meeting was attended by important personalities of the Taliban power such as Sirajuddin Haqqani, the new Afghan Minister of the Interior, or the Minister of Defense, Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob.

“In this meeting, both sides discussed bilateral relations, humanitarian aid, the future economic development of Afghanistan and international interactions with the Islamic emirate,” Wardak said. According to the Taliban, the Qatari Foreign Minister “congratulated” the Islamist party for the “conquest”, and highlighted the good relations between his country and Afghanistan.

The Qatari authorities have been instrumental in organizing evacuations from Afghanistan following the withdrawal on August 31 of US troops controlling the Kabul military airport. Qatar has hosted a Taliban political office for years and has served as a mediator in negotiations between Afghans, while maintaining a good relationship with Washington, to the point of hosting the main US military base in the Persian Gulf.

The Taliban captured Kabul on August 15 after a swift military campaign, during the final withdrawal of US and NATO troops. This week, they announced the formation of an interim government made up solely of members of the fundamentalist organization and without the presence of women.

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