Turkey and Qatar reach agreement on ensuring security at Kabul’s main airport

Jan 20, 2022: Turkey and Qatar have agreed to ensure security at Kabul’s main airport if they are given a mission during ongoing talks with the Taliban government, Turkish diplomatic sources said on Thursday.

Kabul International Airport is an important land link between Afghanistan and the rest of the world. Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August, Turkey has said it is ready to work with Qatar, but only if its security demands are met. The United Arab Emirates also held talks with the Taliban to keep the airport operational, as per Reuters report.

Sources told reporters on Thursday that Ankara and Doha have agreed on a security framework for the airport mission, but further talks are underway on other aspects, such as financing.

One source said, “The Taliban are expected to ensure security outside, and to ensure security inside for whoever operates the airport.”

The man, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “The process is constructive.” He added that a delegation of Turkish and Qatari officials was discussing the issue in Kabul this week.

Qatar’s state news agency said the Taliban government would be in Doha next week to complete talks with Qatar and Turkey on airport operations and management. It added that Qatari and Turkish delegations had held “intensive talks” for two days this week over control of the Kabul airport.

Qatar – which helped run the airport with Turkey after playing a key role in evacuation efforts following the US withdrawal in August – says Ankara, Doha and the Taliban have agreed to hold talks next week. 

Qatar’s role at Kabul airport has ensured that flights between Doha and Kabul have been operating since September, making Qatar a hub for countries to maintain ties with Afghanistan and meet with the Taliban government. The United States, Britain, Canada and many other countries have moved their embassies in Afghanistan to Qatar.

On Wednesday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was sending 700 tons of emergency aid and supplies to Afghanistan, without specifying a date.

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