Britain’s Raab To Discuss Afghanistan With Qatari Leadership
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is set to visit Doha on September 2 to discuss the situation in Afghanistan with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and other Qatari leaders.
“The prospects of getting Kabul airport up and running and safe passage for foreign nationals and Afghans across land borders [are] top of the agenda,” the U.K. Foreign Office said in a statement.
Raab will also hold talks with his Qatari counterpart and the British Embassy to Afghanistan, which has temporarily relocated to the tiny Persian Gulf nation.
The United States and its allies evacuated more than 123,000 foreigners and Afghans out of Kabul since August 14, the day before the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan two decades after being removed from power by the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.
But tens of thousands of Afghans who had helped Western nations oust the militants during a 20-year war and others at risk remained behind.
In a resolution, the UN Security Council has urged the Taliban to allow safe passage for those seeking to leave Afghanistan.
The militants have promised to allow Afghans to leave and return to the country, but many remain in doubt about the hard-line Islamist group’s intentions.
Britain said on September 1 that it was in talks with the Taliban to secure “safe passage” out of Afghanistan for a number of British nationals and Afghans who remain inside the country.
Raab said the number of U.K. nationals remaining in the country was believed to be in the “low hundreds.”
He also said that the Foreign Office was sending teams to Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan “to reinforce our embassy staff to process arrivals from Afghanistan, including British Nationals and the Afghans who supported us,” Raab said.
Meanwhile, a Taliban spokesman was quoted as saying that a joint team of technicians from Turkey and Qatar had arrived in the capital to provide technical and logistical services to help with repairs of the Kabul airport.
The goal was reportedly to resume flights for both humanitarian aid and to provide freedom of movement, including the resumption of evacuation efforts.
Afghanistan’s civil aviation authority said it had a technical team working at Kabul airport to repair the radar system so flights could resume.