Taliban and UAE agree to work together to run Afghanistan's airports


An aircraft carrying humanitarian aid from the United Arab Emirates prepares to land at the airport in Kabul on 12 September 2021. (Photo: AFP)

According to a tweet by Afghanistan's acting deputy prime minister, Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban, and the United Arab Emirates will sign an agreement about the control and management of Afghan airports.

After months of competition for influence in Afghanistan, the UAE, Turkey, and Qatar have agreed.

Baradar stated at the signing that the measure will "open the door" to international investors in Afghanistan, which are now guaranteed security.

In August, when the Taliban took control of Kabul after the United States terminated its two-decade military presence there, the airport was severely damaged.

Turkey and Qatar were scheduled to jointly run and safeguard Kabul International Airport shortly after the US pullout.

The Qataris and Turkey have been assisting in running the Hamid Karzai International Airport since the tumultuous US pullout in August, and they have indicated their willingness to take over the operations.

In November, a senior Emirati foreign ministry official told Middle East Eye that the UAE "remains committed to assisting in operating" Kabul airport to maintain humanitarian access and safe transit. Additionally, Abu Dhabi contributed to recent evacuation efforts.

Relations between the UAE and Qatar have been stagnant for years due to the two Gulf governments' competition for regional influence.

Emirati shipping and logistics firm GAC Dubai, represented by Razack Aslam Mohammed Abdur Razack, will operate and secure the airports.

Turkey's discontentment

In August of last year, MEE published a draft agreement between the Taliban and Turkey that paved the way for a Turkey-Qatar understanding. The proposed agreement stipulated that Ankara would recognize the Taliban as the official government of Afghanistan and that a private corporation would provide security at the Kabul airport.

However, Turkey and the Taliban have struggled to negotiate a definitive agreement on guarding and operating Kabul airport, with Ankara upset by the Taliban's interim Afghan government's lack of diversity. Two individuals familiar with the situation told MEE in September.

"The new Taliban government has angered western allies, including Ankara," according to one source. There is not a single representative of the diversity in the cabinet.

Since a few years ago, Turkey has defended the military part of the Kabul airport against external threats.

Ankara was close to reaching an agreement with the United States to continue the mission last summer, but the Taliban's complete takeover of the nation drastically altered the situation.

Turkish officials told MEE in the past that they believe keeping a presence in Afghanistan will help them preserve Turkish commercial and political interests in the nation, including stopping a tide of asylum-seeking refugees from entering Turkey.

Publish : 2022-05-24 20:44:00

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