Qatar, UAE to keep up work on Kabul airport: Taliban

Qatar and UAE to keep working on Kabul airport until fully operational, Taliban says
2 min read
15 September, 2021
The two Gulf states are working to repair damage to the airport and fix technical issues so that it can be in full operation, a Taliban official has said.
The acting head of Kabul airport has said US forces caused considerable damage to the site [Getty]

A Taliban official has said Qatar and the UAE will remain in Afghanistan until Kabul airport fully operational for international flights.

Teams from Qatar and the UAE are currently working at the airport, Mawlavi Abdul Hadi Hamadan, the acting head of the facility told Anadolu Agency.

US forces caused considerable damage to the airport upon their exit of the country, destroying planes, terminals, and buildings before they left, Hamadan said, which needs repair so that international flights can operate in full.

Emirati and Qatari teams are working on the repairs, the Taliban official said.

Hamadan claimed that the UAE team told him they have already spent one million dollars in renovations on just one terminal.

No exact time frame could be given for the completion of all necessary work, he added.

Mustafa Goksu, Turkey's Ambassador in Doha, told Qatari newspaper Al-Raya that Ankara is also providing technical support for the airport's operations.

The Afghan capital's airport was at the centre of the scramble to evacuate Afghans and foreigners from the country after the Taliban took control of the country last month.

The US-led evacuation effort ended on 31 August, leaving many desperate to flee the country behind.

Commercial flights from the airport resumed last week.

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However, it is still uncertain which if any nations will take on the role of helping to keep the airport secure.

Qatar said on Tuesday that it will not be able to take responsibility for Kabul airport without "clear" agreements on its operations with the Taliban.

At a press briefing, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said: "the status is still [under] negotiation because we need to have an agreement that's clear for all the parties and who is going to take care of the technical [side], [and] who's going to take care of the security aspects."

The minister said there is a possibility for collaboration with other countries if necessary, but currently "the discussion is only among us and Turkey and the Taliban".

Hamadan told AA that women working at the airport before the Taliban takeover have been asked to return as "adequate searches of women passengers cannot be done by men" - provided that they wear the hijab.

One woman working in the department told the Turkish news outlet that only five women have joined the airport's domestic terminal's security team so far.