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Taliban signs agreement with UAE firm on running Afghan airports

dpa
Islamabad
The Taliban signed an agreement with a company based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday for the ground handling of three airports in Afghanistan.
With the new agreement, the new officials in Kabul and the representative of the UAE-founded company hope that all international commercial airlines can resume their flights to the country.
“International airlines, which have been away from this country for the past few months, we are hoping that they come back to us,” the executive director of the UAE’s GAAC Company, Razack Aslam, told
journalists.
Qatar and Turkey have been holding talks with Taliban officials for the past couple of months to run the country’s airports.
The newly inked pact with the UAE will only apply to the logistics at Kabul, Herat and Kandahar airports and not security.
“This contract includes a part of the services,” Taliban’s deputy minister of transport and civil aviation told dpa. “We are still hopeful to continue talks with Qatar on another two parts which include the security of the civil aviation, such as searching and checking of the passengers and the air traffic control.”
Reportedly, the length of the contract and the security of the airport compound were the points of disagreement with the Qatari-Turkish consortium.
Afghanistan’s airspace is currently closed to all overflights. Only domestic flights and international evacuation or humanitarian aid delivery flights are taking place.
The US-led international forces caused extensive damage to Kabul airport during their chaotic withdrawal from the country in August when the Taliban seized control of the country.
The airport terminal, radar system, aircraft and vehicles were all damaged, the Taliban claimed when they took charge of the airport. A Qatari team later reopened Kabul airport.