A Qatari aircraft landed in Kabul Wednesday carrying a technical team to discuss the resumption of airport operations after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.
“A Qatari jet carrying a technical team has landed in Kabul earlier today to discuss the resumption of operations in the airport,” the source told AFP.
“While no final agreement has been reached regarding providing technical assistance, Qatar’s technical team has initiated this discussion based on the other sides’ request.
Watch: A Qatari aircraft lands in #Kabul carrying a technical team to discuss the resumption of airport operations after the Taliban takeover of #Afghanistan, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.https://t.co/xlgRxMM8m0 pic.twitter.com/KJRDORsyxV— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) September 1, 2021
“Talks are still ongoing at the level of security and operation.”
The source said that the goal was to resume flights for both humanitarian aid and to provide freedom of movement, including the resumption of evacuation efforts.
More than 123,000 foreign nationals and Afghans fled the country in a frenzied airlift operation that wound up on Tuesday, but many more are desperate to depart.
US officials have said Kabul airport is in a bad condition, with much of its basic infrastructure degraded or destroyed.
Taliban fighters celebrated with gunfire on Tuesday after the last US forces abandoned Kabul following a two-decade war.
Watch: Celebratory gunfire echoes across #Kabul after the last #US troops took off from the airport, ending 20 years of war in #Afghanistan that left the Taliban stronger than it was in 2001.https://t.co/OWxEnO4IGx pic.twitter.com/czmfMV2EoS— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) August 31, 2021
Qatar hosted negotiations between the Taliban and the US in recent years and was a transit point for about 43,000 evacuees from Afghanistan.
The US invaded Afghanistan and toppled its Taliban government in 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda, which had sought sanctuary in the country.
Western capitals fear Afghanistan could again become a haven for extremists bent on attacks.
Gulf countries, including Qatar, have been instrumental staging posts for evacuation flights for Western countries’ citizens as well as Afghan interpreters, journalists and others.