Last week, the Taliban held meetings with the US in Doha as they scrambled for aid following the tragic earthquakes that killed more than 1,000 people.
Acting Afghan Defence Minister Mohammad Mujahid travelled to Qatar on Tuesday, where he is scheduled to meet with various senior officials from the Gulf state.
On Wednesday, the Afghan official met with Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at the Amiri Diwan to discuss the latest developments in Kabul as well as regional and international developments.
Qatar’s state news agency (QNA) said the amir stressed the need to work towards achieving stability and reconciliation in the crises-hit country.
The Qatari leader also emphasised the importance of ensuring that all social segments of Afghan society enjoy their rights, amid heightened concerns over the fate of women in the country.
While Mujahid’s agenda for his Qatar visit has not been disclosed, it comes a week after meetings between Taliban and US officials in Doha. Those meetings came as Afghanistan sought humanitarian assistance following tragic earthquakes that struck the southeastern part of the country.
More than 1,000 people were killed in the earthquake and thousands of homes were destroyed, prompting Qatar to quickly mobilise to provide much-needed humanitarian aid.
The Afghan delegation, led by Foreign Minister Khan Muttaqi, also met with a US Treasury department official to look into the country’s worsening economic crisis.
Since the Taliban militarily seized power last year, the US was quick to freeze up to $9.1 billion worth of Afghan assets, contributing to an already-worsening economic situation.
In February, US President Joe Biden ordered the release of $7 billion of Afghanistan’s funds. However, the Biden administration only gave Afghans living under dire humanitarian conditions $3.5 billion of the total amount.
The other half of the Afghan funds was allocated towards victims of the 9/11 attack, a move that many described as the US “punishing” Afghans.
Aid agencies say sanction exemptions as well as a limited release of some frozen funds in Afghanistan do not resolve the overall economic turmoil.
Qatar has repeatedly called for the global community to avoid isolating Afghanistan and has been an important host of meetings between the west and the Taliban since the Kabul takeover.
The current administration is led by the Taliban and its loyalists, some from the Haqqani network. Since the formation of the interim acting government in September, the administration has faced global criticism for not yet meeting its promises to have an inclusive ruling body.
The acting government has also appeared to backtrack on its vows to ensure the protection of all females, allowing all women and girls to work and receive education.
In March, the acting administration made an abrupt decision to ban all teenage Afghan girls from continuing secondary school education.
Qatar had expressed its concern over the move and reiterated the importance of ensuring all women and girls achieve their basic rights in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Mujahid’s visit to Qatar comes as the Gulf state, Turkey and the interim Afghan government discuss plans to secure Afghanistan’s airports.
Qatari and Turkish technical teams were dispatched to Kabul after US and NATO troops made a chaotic exit from Afghanistan on 31 August.
The teams were tasked to repair parts of the Hamid Karzai International Airport to resume civilian flights following mass evacuations.
The first of many passenger flights, operated by Qatar Airways, departed Kabul on 9 September, carrying 113 Afghans and foreigners.
Qatari and Turkish companies are currently running technical parts of the airport without a contract. Doha and its ally Ankara had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in December last year to run specific parts of Afghanistan’s airports.
An agreement over airport operations is crucial in supporting the country through its economic crisis.