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 side’s request.
“Talks are still ongoing at the level of security and operation.”
The source said the goal was to resume flights for both humanitarian aid and to provide freedom of movement, including the resumption of evacuation efforts.
Arab media on Twitter cited a Taliban spokesman as saying they had “officially asked Qatar to help with managing the airport as soon as possible”.
More than 123,000 foreign nationals and Afghans have 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 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.
Qatar hosted negotiations between the Taliban and the United States 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.