Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani attends talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not seen) in Moscow, Russia September 11, 2021. Alexander Nemenov / pool via REUTERS
September 12, 2021
CAIRO (Reuters) – Qatar’s foreign minister held talks with the prime minister of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan on Sunday in Kabul’s highest-level foreign visit since the militant group seized the capital last month.
Qatar’s foreign ministry said Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani called on the country’s new rulers to “involve all Afghan parties in national reconciliation” when he met with Prime Minister Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund, Qatar’s foreign minister. Ministry said.
Qatar is considered one of the countries with the most influence on the Taliban and played a key role in the massive US-led airlift of its own citizens, other Western nationals, and Afghans who helped Western countries.
Qatar’s capital Doha also hosted the Taliban’s political office, which oversaw talks with the United States that eventually led to the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
According to the Qatar Ministry, Sheikh Mohammed and the new Prime Minister Akhund also discussed “concerted efforts to combat terrorist organizations that threaten the stability of Afghanistan”, ways to enhance peace in the country and safe passage of people.
A Taliban spokesman said Sheikh Mohammed met with the prime minister and several other senior ministers.
According to the Taliban, “the meeting focused on bilateral relations, humanitarian aid, economic development and dialogue with the world.”
Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi, Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaki, Defense Minister Yakub Mujahid, Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani and Intelligence Chief Abdul Haq Wasiq, among many other Afghan ministers, attended Sunday’s meeting at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The Taliban said the leadership of the Islamic Emirate, a term used by the group to describe the new order in Afghanistan, thanked the Qatari government for its support of the Afghan people.
The Taliban said the Doha Agreement, signed by the United States and the Taliban, was a “historic achievement; all parties must abide by its implementation”.
Qatar’s Sheikh Mohammed also met Abdullah Abdullah, a senior Afghan government official, and former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the foreign ministry said.
(Reporting by Ahmed Elhamy, James Mackenzie and Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Katherine Evans / Raisa Kasolowski / Pravin Char)