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Turkey, Qatar await Taliban approval to operate five airports in Afghanistan

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani (R) poses for a photo prior to their meeting in Doha, Qatar on 6 December 2021. [Fatih Aktaş - Anadolu Agency]
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani (R) poses for a photo prior to their meeting in Doha, Qatar on 6 December 2021. [Fatih Aktaş - Anadolu Agency]

Private Turkish and Qatari companies have agreed to jointly operate five airports in Afghanistan, although they are still waiting to reach a final deal with the Taliban, officials said on Tuesday.

Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said on Monday that an MoU had been signed in Doha earlier this month, covering Kabul and four other airports in Afghanistan.

Cavusoglu noted that the United Arab Emirates, which operated the civilian part of Kabul airport before the Taliban took over power in August, had also expressed an interest in joining the Turkish and Qatari companies.

He said the issue was discussed during Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed's visit to the Turkish capital, Ankara, in late November.

"They said 'maybe we can run work tri-laterally' but there was never any concrete proposal. We haven't presented any proposal to them, either. But operating the airport briefly appeared on the agenda," said Cavusoglu.

Turkish and Qatari officials did not reveal many details of the MoU and refused to name the companies that will participate in managing the airports.

In response to growing speculation that an imminent agreement might be reached, Afghan Civil Aviation Ministry spokesman, Imamuddin Ahmadi told AFP on Tuesday that "no deal has been signed yet".

READ: Engagement with the Taliban is imperative to avoid the collapse of Afghanistan

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AfghanistanAsia & AmericasEurope & RussiaMiddle EastNewsQatarTurkey
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