Afghanistan, Turkey, Qatar Close to Deal on Kabul Airport

Afghanistan: The Islamic Emirate delegation during its visit to Turkey met with Turkish officials and discussed the pending deal on operating Kabul airport and several other international airports in Afghanistan.

Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on Saturday met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and discussed a range of issues, including the Afghan airports. According to the Foreign Ministry, the two sides agreed to resolve the remaining issues in the near future.

“The two sides talked on Kabul Airport and other Afghan International Airports, assessing provisions of the contract that needed further discussions, pledging that both countries, including Qatar, would work on solving outstanding issues through technical discussions at the earliest,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Emirate’s acting Minister of Information and Culture, Khairullah Khairkhwa, told Turkey’s Daily Sabah that an agreement with Doha and Ankara is close. “Turkey and Qatar and the Afghan government have been nearing an agreement, so hopefully in the near future it will be finalized,” he said.

In November last year, Reuters, citing sources, reported that the United Arab Emirate had held talks with the Islamic Emirate to run Kabul airport. Khairkhwa, however, said currently Turkey and Qatar are the first choice. “The priority and the preference is Turkey and Qatar,” he said.

In December a number of Afghan businesspeople urged the Islamic Emirate to sign a contract with a company from the UAE to run Kabul Airport because, according to them, over 200,000 Afghans are settled in the UAE and have invested millions of dollars there and the operation of the Afghan airport will affect their access to the UAE.

Previously, Turkey said that if their security concerns were addressed, Ankara and Doha were ready to jointly operate Kabul Airport.