Qatar to be an influential player in exerting a moderating influence on Taliban govt, says British foreign secretary
Tribune News Network
Qatar is in talks with the Taliban and working with Turkey for potential technical support to restart operations at the Kabul airport, said Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Doha on Thursday.
"We are engaging with them (Taliban), engaging also with Turkey if they can provide any technical assistance on that front. Hopefully in the next few days there will be some good news," he said, while addressing a a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
"There is no clear indication when (the airport) is going to be fully operational yet...We remain hopeful that we will be able to operate it as soon as possible," Sheikh Mohammed said.
Raab said there was a need to engage with the Taliban on Afghanistan, but Britain had no immediate plans to recognise their government. He said cooperation on border crossings was an "important first test" of its relationship with the West.
He noted that he had discussed with Qatari officials ensuring Afghanistan does not harbour terrorism in the future, preventing a humanitarian crisis, preserving regional stability and holding the Taliban to account on their public pledge to set up a more inclusive government.
"Our commitment on the part of the United Kingdom to Afghanistan remains. We need to adjust to the new reality," Raab told reporters.
"Our immediate priority is to secure the safe passage of those remaining British nationals, and also the Afghans who worked for the United Kingdom, and others who may be at the most risk," he said, adding that he would be talking to regional leaders about securing safe passage through third countries.
Britain has moved its Afghanistan embassy from Kabul to the Qatari capital Doha.
Raab said Qatar would be an "influential player" in exerting a moderating influence on the Taliban government.