The Gulf state has served as a diplomatic bridge between the Taliban-led Afghan administration and the international community.
Qatar’s special envoy for counter-terrorism Dr. Mutlaq bin Majed Al Qahtani held several meetings with officials from the United States in Washington on Tuesday, including its representative for Afghanistan.
According to Qatar’s foreign ministry, Al Qahtani met separately with US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Peninsula Affairs Daniel Benaim, and Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Ian McCary.
“During the meetings, they discussed bilateral cooperation relations between the two countries and a number of regional and international issues of common concern,” the Qatari foreign ministry’s statement added.
While no further details were publicly disclosed, it comes as Qatar continues its efforts to serve as a diplomatic bridge between Afghanistan and the international community.
In February, Al Qahtani travelled to Afghanistan where he met with the Taliban-led Afghan administration in Kabul, including Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, Minister of Interior Sirajuddin Haqqani, and Minister of Education Habibullah Agha.
During that trip, Al Qahtani reiterated Doha’s “position supporting all segments of the Afghan people to obtain all their rights, particularly the right to education, especially for girls, and respect for women’s right to work”.
In May, 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 months earlier.
Analysts told Doha News at the time that the meeting in Afghanistan displayed Qatar’s role as “an important interlocutor for the international community”.
Meanwhile on 1 May, the United Nations’ Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hosted a meeting on Afghanistan.
The meeting brought 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”. To date, the Taliban-led administration has not been recognised by any country since it militarily seized power in Afghanistan in 2021.
Since then, Qatar has stepped up its diplomatic role between the group and the rest of the world primarily to deal with the unravelling humanitarian crisis in the country.
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.
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. He also vowed to stand with and support the women in Afghanistan.