To date, the Taliban-led administration has not been recognised by any country since it militarily seized power.
Qatar’s most recent meeting in Afghanistan displays its role as “an important interlocutor for the international community”, analysts told Doha News on Sunday, following a visit by a top official.
On Friday, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani made his first official visit to Kandahar since becoming premier in March.
“Qatar is an important interlocutor for the international community because Qatar supports their efforts to find ways to alleviate the suffering of Afghans,” Anna Jacobs, Senior Gulf Analyst at International Crisis Group, told Doha News.
Sheikh Mohammed met Afghan caretaker prime minister Mohammad Hasan Akhund as well as other officials to discuss “ways of supporting Afghanistan to alleviate the impact of its current crisis on the economic and humanitarian front,”according to Doha’s foreign ministry.
“His Excellency stressed during the meeting the State of Qatar’s firm support of all segments of the Afghan people, and its continued efforts to establish security, stability, prosperity, and honorable living in Afghanistan,” the statement added.
It came just weeks after the United Nations’ Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hosted a meeting on Afghanistan on 1 May, bringing together special envoys from around the world to discuss ways to support Afghanistan and address global concerns over the rights of Afghan women and girls in the country.
However, the Taliban was not invited to attend the meeting and described it as “ineffective”.
Since the Taliban captured control of Afghanistan in August 2021, Qatar has stepped up as a diplomatic bridge between the group and the rest of the world and has continuously pushed for diplomacy to solve the humanitarian crisis.
“This often requires difficult conversations with both western officials and the Taliban, but Qatar is working hard to keep dialogue going between the Taliban and the international community,” Jacobs added.
To date, the Taliban-led administration has not been recognised by any country since it militarily seized power in Afghanistan.
Speaking at a press conference concluding the closed-door meeting in Doha, Guterres said while he is not opposed to the idea, an imminent move to recognise the group is not likely.
“When it is the right moment to do so, I will obviously not refuse that possibility,” he responded to a journalist enquiring about recognition.
“Today is not the right moment to do so,” he added.
Notably, the UN General Assembly has twice approved a postponement of Kabul’s request to appoint an ambassador at the intergovernmental organisation.
Qatar’s efforts in Afghanistan
Qatar has hosted the Taliban’s political office in Doha since 2012 and has served as a key mediator between the group and the former Afghan administration as well as the western world.
Most notably, the Gulf state managed to bring together the former Afghan government and the Taliban to the table of negotiations in 2020 in an effort to reach a peaceful settlement.
During the same year, Qatar hosted the United States and the Taliban following more than a decade of war to produce the Doha Agreement.
“Qatar is still very committed to the Doha agreement and to finding a roadmap for stabilising Afghanistan’s precarious political and economic situation. But it’s unclear what direction international mediation and diplomacy surrounding Afghanistan is headed,” Jacobs said.
In recent years, Doha has doubled down on its calls on the interim Afghan administration to allow Afghan women and girls to pursue education after the Taliban introduced oppressive measures.
In January, Qatar’s foreign minister said Doha has been in contact with the interim government to understand the rationale behind the restrictive policies towards women and girls.
The top diplomat told CNBC at the time that Doha cannot see such policies rationalised from either a religious or cultural perspective, and confirmed his country is currently involved in consultations with other Muslim nations to “deal” with the situation.
“It’s just more and more provoking and making the situation much worse for them and for the Afghan people, we’ve been trying to reach out recently after these decisions take place. We’ve been trying also through other means jointly with other Muslim countries to talk to them and to go together,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
The Qatari official also vowed that Doha will stand with and support the women in Afghanistan.
“We will not exert any effort in order to make sure that we are helpful for them and to make sure that these kinds of decisions are not happening,” Sheikh Mohammed said.