Following months of negotiations on the operation of the Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport after the Taliban took control of the country, the IE has said that an agreement with Turkey and Qatar is to be expected soon.
Khairullah Khairkhwa, the Taliban’s acting culture and information minister, said, “Turkey and Qatar and the Taliban have been nearing an agreement, so hopefully in the near future it will be finalized.”
Being asked on the negotiations on the operation of Kabul airport with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), he indicated that currently Doha and Ankara together is the first choice.
“The priority and the preference is Turkey and Qatar,” he said, underlining that only if something goes wrong then another country would be considered.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had previously indicated that Turkey, Qatar and the UAE could also possibly operate the airport in a trilateral manner.
Çavuşoğlu said: “Before the Taliban took over power, we were leading Kabul airport’s military wing within the scope of NATO. The civilian part was led by a UAE company.”
Turkey has been working with Qatar to reopen the airport in the Afghan capital for international travel.
After the Taliban seized control of the country, Turkey offered technical and security assistance to operationalize Kabul’s airport. Keeping the airport open after foreign forces handed over control is vital to keeping Afghanistan connected with the world and maintaining an uninterrupted supply of aid for distribution.
The Turkish government has taken a pragmatic approach to the recent events in Afghanistan. Underlining that new realities have emerged in Afghanistan, Ankara said it would move forward accordingly while keeping communication with all relevant leaders open.
NATO member Turkey maintained its embassy in Afghanistan after Western countries withdrew following the Taliban takeover and has urged those countries to step up engagement. At the same time, it said it will only work fully with the Taliban if they form a more inclusive administration.
Within 10 days in August, the Taliban had announced its control of most of Afghanistan in parallel with the United States withdrawal from the country after 20 years of military presence. Shortly after the withdrawal of forces, technical teams from Turkey and Qatar started working on getting the airport back to operational standards.