Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani says negotiations are under way to achieve clarity on “who is going to take care of the technical (side), [and] who’s going to take care of the security aspects [of the airport].”

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani attends talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not seen) in Moscow, Russia, September 11, 2021.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani attends talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not seen) in Moscow, Russia, September 11, 2021. (Reuters Archive)

Qatar has warned it would not take responsibility for Kabul airport without "clear" agreements with all involved, including the Taliban, about its operations.

Doha has become a key broker in Afghanistan following last month's withdrawal of US forces, helping evacuate thousands of foreigners and Afghans, engaging the new Taliban rulers and supporting operations at Kabul airport.

"We need to make sure that everything is addressed very clearly otherwise ... we are not able to take any responsibility of the airport (if) all these things are not addressed," Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani said at a press briefing.

"Right now the status is still (under) negotiation because we need to have an agreement that's clear for everyone for all the parties and who is going to take care of the technical (side), who's going to take care of the security aspects."

"There is a possibility for collaboration with other countries if needed, but until now the discussion is only among us and Turkey and the Taliban."

READ MORE: Taliban bans unapproved protests in bid to quell budding demonstrations

Commercial flights yet to resume

Since the US pullout, Qatar Airways planes have made several trips to Kabul, flying in aid and Doha's representatives and ferrying out foreign passport holders.

A Pakistan International Airlines jet landed in Kabul on Monday, marking the first international commercial flight since the US withdrawal.

It then made a return flight to Islamabad with about 70 people on board – mostly Afghans who were relatives of staffers with international organisations, according to airport ground staff.

Kabul's international airport was ransacked after US-led forces finished a chaotic evacuation of more than 120,000 people, and the Taliban has since scrambled to resume operations with technical assistance from Qatar and other nations.

Qatar Airways operated several charter flights out of Kabul last week, carrying mostly foreigners and Afghans who missed out on the evacuation.

An Afghan airline resumed domestic services on September 3.

But the resumption of regular commercial flights will be a key test for the Taliban, which has repeatedly promised to allow Afghans with the right documents to leave the country freely.

The United States pulled its final troops out of Afghanistan on August 30, ending its longest war just ahead of the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks that prompted its invasion.

READ MORE: Taliban using whips, guns at Afghan protests, UN says

UN urged by fallen envoy to probe rights abuses

Meanwhile, an Afghan ambassador appointed by the Kabul government that collapsed last month called on Tuesday for the UN to immediately launch an investigation into alleged abuses by the new Taliban authorities.

Speaking before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Nasir Ahmad Andisha stressed the need for international scrutiny of alleged violations since the Taliban takeover on August 15, particularly those concerning the rights of women and girls.

"Today, the world cannot and should not be silent as millions fear for their life and human rights, and humanitarian crises are unfolding in the country," Andisha said.

He urged the UN's top rights body to "immediately dispatch a fact-finding mission to investigate and document abuse of human rights," including in Panjshir Valley, the last pocket of resistance to the Taliban's rapid takeover as US troops withdrew.

Andisha, who was appointed by former president Ashraf Ghani's administration, remains the country's representative to the UN in Geneva since the new authorities have not yet requested a change.

He had appealed during a special council session on Afghanistan on August 24 for the UN's top rights body to establish an international fact-finding mission to investigate alleged violations, and voiced disappointment when it failed to do so.

UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet and the European Union have also urged the council to establish a mechanism for monitoring and documenting rights abuses in the country.

And a long line of rights groups that had slammed the council's inaction last month have voiced hope that it could take more decisive action during the current regular session, which lasts until October 8.

Notorious for their brutal and oppressive rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban had promised a different approach this time, including respecting women's rights, within the confines of Islam.

But they violently put down protests that broke out against their rule in Kabul and elsewhere, and also detained and brutally beat some journalists who covered the protests, before outlawing most demonstrations.

"The Taliban have vowed to respect human rights, but women's voices are disappearing from the landscape ... while violence and discrimination against women and girls remain permissive," Andisha said.

READ MORE: Qatar calls for 'national reconciliation' in Afghanistan

Source: AFP