Qatar has hosted the Taliban’s political office in Doha since 2012 and has served as a key mediator between the group and the international community.
Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban group has urged Qatar to invest in Afghanistan and take action to enhance ties between the South Asian country and the international community, TOLO News reported.
Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid said representatives of the Afghan interim government asked the Qatari delegation, which paid a visit to Kandahar on Friday, to make investments in Afghanistan during their meeting last week.
Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani also attended the meeting.
“We asked Qatar for their continued cooperation and to take influential steps in diplomacy to eliminate the concerns and doubts existing in some countries,” Mujahid said.
The latest developments come against the backdrop of a phone conversation exchanged between the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Qatar’s prime minister in which they discussed the situation in Afghanistan.
According to the US State Department, Blinken thanked Sheikh Mohammed “reiterated his appreciation for Qatar’s continued assistance in Afghanistan.”
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.
“The role of Qatar has been positive in the political and economic interaction of Afghanistan. As it played an important role in signing the agreement, it currently plays an important role in extensions of engagement between the Islamic Emirate and the international community,” said Abdul Latif Nazari, the Deputy Minister of Economy, as quoted by TOLO News.
However, 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 prime 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.