Die nuutste: Katar: timing unclear on Kabul airport reopening

Die nuutste: Katar: timing unclear on Kabul airport reopening
Qatar’s Foreign Minister says there is still “no clear indication” of when the Kabul airport will resume normal operations, but that the Gulf Arab state is evaluating the situation with Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers

DUBAI, Verenigde Arabiese Emirate — Qatar’s Foreign Minister says there is still “no clear indication” of when the Aanvaar airport will resume normal operations, but that the Gulf Arab state is evaluating the situation with Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers.

In a joint press conference in Doha with his British counterpart, Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said Katar remains “hopeful that we will be able to operate (the airport) as soon as possible,” without giving a timeline or elaborating on Qatar’s role in providing technical assistance. He said Qatar is working with the Taliban “to identify what are the gaps and the risks of having the airport back up and running.”

Kabul’s international airport has been closed to normal traffic since Aug. 16, when the Taliban took control of Kabul. Military flights and evacuations continued until Aug. 31, when U.S. forces quit the country and left the runway without air traffic controllers. A flight from Qatar arrived Wednesday however to bring in airport technicians needed for any reopening for commercial flights.

Al Thani also urged the Taliban to live up to its promise to allow Afghans and foreigners to leave the country freely once the airport reopens.

Qatar sent a technical team to Kabul airport on Wednesday to assess the operations. The tiny sheikhdom, which facilitated talks between the U.S. and the Taliban, has played an outsized role in American efforts to evacuate tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan

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MORE ON AFGHANISTAN:

— Afghans face hunger crisis, adding to Taliban’s challenge

— Biden defends departure from ‘forever war,’ praises airlift

— UN chief urges countries to help Afghans in ‘hour of need’

— Victorious Taliban focus on governing after US withdrawal

— New Taliban rulers face tough economic, security challenges

— Analysis: War is over but not Biden’s Afghanistan challenges

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— Find more AP coverage at http://apnews.com/hub/afghanistan

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

UNITED NATIONS — The president of the U.N. Security Council says the U.N.’s most powerful body will not take its focus off Afghanistan this month and “the real litmus test” for the new Taliban government will be how it treats women and girls.

Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason of Ireland said Wednesday that the protection and promotion of human rights for women “must be at the very heart of our collective response to the crisis.”

Under the Taliban’s previous rule from 1996 aan 2001, women were not allowed to go to school, work outside the home or leave homes without a male escort. Though they faced many challenges in the country’s male-dominated society after the Taliban’s ouster, Afghan girls were not only educated but over the last 20 years women increasingly stepped into powerful positions in numerous fields including government, besigheid, health and education.

Bryne Nason said: “My question is, will the Taliban be different, and that’s the real question. We haven’t seen any evidence of that.”

She said the international community has clout because whatever form of government emerges in Afghanistan needs international supportand human rights and respect for international law “are red line issues.”

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