Qatari foreign minister says Kabul airport operations to start ‘as soon as possible’

Qatar is working with the Taliban to reopen Kabul’s airport “as soon as possible”, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said, adding that the Gulf state was seeking technical assistance from Turkey.

“We are working very hard (and) we remain hopeful that we will be able to operate it as soon as possible … Hopefully in the next few days we will hear some good news,” Al Thani said on Thursday at a press conference with his British counterpart Dominic Raab in Doha.

A source inside Afghanistan told Al Jazeera that the Taliban is hoping domestic flights will resume in the next few days, while international flights will possibly take off in the next week or so.

The British foreign secretary said there was a need to engage with the Taliban on Afghanistan, but Britain had no immediate plans to recognise its government.

Raab said that the United Kingdom was not going to recognise the Taliban “any time in the foreseeable future”, adding that he will judge the group by its actions, not by words.

The Kabul airport was damaged as the United States and its allies evacuated more than 100,000 people, with the last US troops leaving on August 31 – the deadline set by US President Joe Biden.

The Taliban captured power on August 15 in a stunning military sweep triggering the collapse of the Western-backed Kabul administration. The group has also been celebrating the withdrawal of US-led foreign forces after 20 years of war.

As the Taliban prepares to announce the formation of a new government, a humanitarian crisis is looming, with the United Nations warning that one out of three Afghans is going hungry.

Al Jazeera has learned that food prices in Afghanistan have increased by about 50 percent, and petrol by as much as 75 percent, in recent days.

 

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