Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Significance of meeting between Qatari FM and Taliban leader in Kandahar

Tuesday 06/June/2023 - 07:29 PM
The Reference
Mohamed Yosry


The file of international isolation is the most important and dangerous file for the Taliban, which seeks to search for any opportunity through which to get rid of this deep problem that shackles its movements, whether at the internal or external level. Although the Taliban formed an interim government that imposed control over the country immediately after seizing power, it has not yet gained international recognition as the ruling authority of the country, and the movement continues its uninterrupted contacts in this regard with many parties and countries that cooperate with it, including Qatar, which it considers a good mediator through which it may obtain this opportunity.


Doha meeting

The summit of the Taliban's dreams of reaching international recognition came during the international meeting that was held in early May in the Qatari capital, Doha, which included UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and a group of international representatives to discuss the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. Although the meeting was devoid of Taliban representatives, it represented a great hope for the movement in obtaining international recognition after the statements of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, who hinted a few days before the conference, during a meeting she attended in the United States, about the possibility of reaching a preliminary recognition of the Taliban movement.

However, the meeting held in Doha did not meet the Taliban’s desire, and this time it disappointed its hopes of obtaining what it wanted, as its outputs carried something like condemnation of the movement's actions with humanitarian organizations, especially the file of women working in humanitarian agencies and organizations, which the movement does not wish to deal with as part of its general policy against women.


Secret visit

Qatar is considered one of the important stops for the Taliban movement in communicating with the world, especially since the United States has given Doha the mandate to manage its interests in Afghanistan after its withdrawal from the country in August 2021 and after no longer having diplomatic representation in the country. Thus came the importance of the unannounced visit of Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani to the headquarters of Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada in Kandahar, far from the capital, Kabul, in mid-May, which was only recently revealed through leaks about the visit in a number of media outlets, including Reuters.

The visit reflected the Taliban's desire to discuss ways to end its international isolation. According to Reuters, the meeting took place on May 12 in Kandahar, the first meeting between Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada and a foreign official at a high level.

According to Reuters, US President Joe Biden was in contact with the parties to the meeting to coordinate on the issues raised in the talks between the two parties.


Crisis resolution

Dr. Mohamed Abdel Razek, an expert specializing in Asian affairs, explained that the Taliban views these meetings as a lifeline from the international isolation imposed on them, and they hope to reach a solution that contributes to alleviating the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the country.

He pointed out in a special statement to the Reference that offering indirect coordination with the United States through Qatari mediation may lead to a resolution to the crisis of Afghan funds frozen in American banks, which would contribute to the revival of the Afghan economy.

Abdel Razek confirmed that this visit revived hope among the Taliban movement that the dream of international recognition is still possible, especially since US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently confirmed his appreciation for this meeting, which indicates the possibility of the Taliban getting out of international isolation through indirect talks through mediators supporting the movement, including Doha, which hosted the talks between the Taliban and the United States before the movement seized power in August 2021.