When the United Kingdom was forced to move its diplomatic mission from Kabul, it chose Qatar, as a long-time mediator between the West and the Taliban movement, and recently Qatar was the only country viewed as capable of coaxing the Taliban movement to stay engaged with the world. Added to that the UK government has relocated its embassy from Kabul to the Qatari capital Doha. On Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab visited the Qatari capital Doha and meet with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.
He seeks Qatari mediation with the Taliban in purpose to secure a safe passage for the remaining UK nationals in Afghanistan and also the Afghan nationals who worked with the United Kingdom government as an interpreters and drivers during the last years. Similar steps have been done by the United States and other western countries to seek Qatari support as a trustworthy mediator with Taliban militants after the US withdraw from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s capturing the power.
The tiny Gulf state of Qatar’s significant role as a mediator between the Taliban and the West seeking influence in Afghanistan with evacuation has become a fact due to Qatar’s ties with the Taliban for decades. Moreover, Qatar was fostering Mullah Baradar, the expected leader of the new Afghanistan government before he was flown away to Kandahar from Doha with the Qatari Air Forces support when the Taliban take over the country. Since 2013 the Taliban movement has opened its office in Doha during Barack Obama’s administration.
The extremist leader of the Taliban Mullah Baradar was in peace negotiations with the United States that was fostered by Qatar as a mediator since 2017. As a result, both parties, the US and Taliban have signed an important peace agreement in Doha 2020 that ensures US national security and the withdraw of American troops from Afghanistan.
Now, after the fall of Kabul, the small Gulf state of Qatar has been put into a unique position due to Doha’s relationship with the Taliban. Such Qatari’s ties with the other Islamists groups such as Al-Qaeda and other extremists in the region is their main strategy to become a regional power with cooperation with Turkey’s President Racab Tayyip Erdogan. Both countries, Qatar and Turkey, are trying to secure Kabul’s international airport as Ankara is seeking to run the airport by securing it with the Turkish forces support. Qatar’s significant influence in Afghanistan has been shown through the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera news channel that was given exclusive access on the ground to Taliban officials when they had been entering the Afghanistan capital of Kabul.
Simultaneously with Doha’s ties with the Taliban movement as presenting itself as a mediator, the tiny Gulf state of Qatar has been involved in several problematic issues in the region and has relations with such groups that identifying as terrorist organisations.
For instance, Doha has ties with the Sunni extremist movement of the Muslim Brotherhood and also has a good relationship with Iran that has been considered as another main source and supporter of many Shia militias terrorist groups across the region.
by: Zara Saleh