Other issues of common concern between Qatar and Malaysia include the situation in Gaza and efforts to restore the 2015 nuclear deal.
Qatar expressed its disappointment in measures taken against Afghan women and girls by the interim government on Friday, just days ahead of the one-year mark of the Taliban takeover of Kabul.
“Of course, we’ve been very much disappointed in some of the measures taken against the Afghan girls and women and we encourage the Taliban[…]to reverse those measures and give everyone in Afghanistan their rights and access to education,” Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told a presser in Malaysia.
The Qatari diplomat’s remarks came during a press conference alongside his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah. His visit to Kuala Lumpur came as part of a tour in Asia that kicked off on Thursday in Singapore.
Sheikh Mohammed is scheduled to later visit Vietnam, and South Korea.
The worsening humanitarian situation in Afghanistan was among the key issues of common concern during the meeting between Al Thani and Abdullah. Both officials urged all parties to preserve the rights of all Afghans, especially females.
Earlier this year, the Taliban-led government stopped girls from going to school despite promises made during their takeover on 15 August last year over granting them access to education.
Qatar repeatedly stressed the need to respect the rights of all segments of Afghan society. It also previously expressed its disappointment in March when girls were returned home after attempting to resume their education.
The Gulf state, which hosts the Taliban’s political office, also urged all parties to stick to the 2020 Doha Agreement.
“We are very much concerned about the situation in Afghanistan and urge all the parties to stick to the Doha Agreement, especially their commitment to counterterrorism,” said Sheikh Mohammed.
The Doha Agreement was signed in Qatar in February 2020 under the former US Donald Trump administration following intensive negotiations in the Gulf state between the warring sides.
The deal set 1 May 2021 as the deadline for the foreign troop withdrawal from Afghanistan following the 20-year invasion. However, the pull out was on the condition that the Taliban halts its support for terrorist organisations.
The deadline was later revised to 11 September by President Biden without conditions, before changing it to 31 August following the Taliban takeover of Kabul.
The US and Taliban have been exchanging blame over the violation of the accord after the former killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri in Afghanistan on 1 August.
The US claimed the Taliban backtracked on their promises to not harbour terrorism as the acting Afghan government insisted that it had no knowledge of Al Zawahiri’s presence.
Other issues of concern raised in Malaysia
Among the other issues mentioned in the Qatari official’s press conference in Malaysia included the dire situation of Palestinians under the ongoing Israeli occupation.
Qatar’s foreign minister described the Palestinian cause as “a central” issue for the Gulf state that is also of high importance to Malaysia.
“We’ve been very clear and very firm about our positions here, that Palestinians need to be granted their right for their own state at the borders of 1967 and East Jerusalem as their capital,” said Sheikh Mohammed.
The remark also came days after Qatar brokered a ceasefire to end a three-day deadly bombardment on the besieged city of Gaza. The Israeli regime killed more than 40 Palestinians, including at least 16 children.
While the ceasefire halted airstrikes, the death toll has increased as more Palestinians succumb to their injuries.
“We are very much concerned about the deterioration about the humanitarian situation there in Palestine and especially in Gaza after the last round of bombing that the people of Gaza have been exposed to,” said Sheikh Mohammed.
The Qatari diplomat noted that his country welcomes joint efforts with Malaysia to address the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Meanwhile, talks aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal were on the meetings’ agenda as efforts continue to restore the accord, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Sheikh Mohammed and his Malaysian counterpart stressed the need to reach an agreement that addresses the concerns of both the US and Iran.
Qatar hosted two-days of indirect talks between the US and Iran in June that yielded no results as negotiations continued in Vienna.
The talks took place after initially kicking off in Vienna in April last year, with results yet to be seen as both sides continue to exchange blame over compliance with the accord.