Turkey, Qatar to discuss Kabul airport plans with Taliban

Dec 23, 2021, 6:39 AM | Updated: 6:54 am

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A joint Turkish and Qatari delegation is traveling to Afghanistan to discuss plans for companies from their two countries to run Kabul’s international airport in a partnership, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported Thursday.

The Anadolu Agency said Turkish and Qatari officials met in Doha this week to coordinate details and were scheduled to travel to Kabul later on Thursday to present their proposal to Afghanistan’s interim government — which has yet to agree to the plan.

During their talks, members of the joint delegation would also receive information on Afghanistan’s “requests and expectations” concerning the proposal, the agency said.

NATO-member Turkey, which has historic and cultural ties to Afghanistan, managed and protected Kabul’s airport for six years until U.S. and other NATO forces left Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover.

Turkey has long expressed willingness to continue to run the airport, which is a main gateway for landlocked Afghanistan and a vital access for humanitarian aid.

Turkey is a close ally of Qatar, which is a key player in relations with the Taliban. The country hosted months of U.S.-Taliban peace talks and has since been critical to the evacuation of American and other countries’ citizens from Afghanistan. Roughly half the people who have left the country have transited through Qatar.

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Turkey, Qatar to discuss Kabul airport plans with Taliban