Turkey, Qatar Agreement to Operate 5 Airports in Afghanistan

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Monday that Turkey may jointly operate five airports in Afghanistan with Qatar after talks in Doha and Kabul.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah, Çavuşoğlu said a delegation consisting of experts will first travel to Doha then to Afghanistan to discuss operating Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport.

He noted that the Turkish and Qatari delegations will make joint proposals to the interim Taliban-led government in Afghanistan that will be discussed on Wednesday. A Turkish and Qatari company signed a joint agreement to operate five airports in Afghanistan, not just the Kabul airport.

“We will operate the airports jointly with Qatar if conditions are favorable,” Çavuşoğlu said.

On Sunday, the foreign minister discussed operating and maintaining Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport and other airports in a meeting with acting Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

Following the meeting, Çavuşoğlu said, “We once again reminded them of the issue of inclusiveness,” indicating that he urged the Taliban to be inclusive in terms of ethnicity and politics.

Çavuşoğlu and Muttaqi met on the sidelines of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Islamabad.

He added that he also discussed with Muttaqi his planned visit to Afghanistan.

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.

Turkey has been working with Qatar to reopen the airport in the Afghan capital for international travel. However, repairs are needed before commercial flights can resume.

Arab Observer

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