Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has urged world leaders to continue engaging with the Taliban in Afghanistan, reiterating his country’s commitment to peaceful conflict resolution.
The Emir, speaking at the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) 76th session in New York, emphasized the importance of the international community’s sustained assistance for the Afghan people “at this critical stage, and to separate between humanitarian aid and political differences.”
“It is also important to continue dialogue with the Taliban,” he added. “Boycotting them would only lead to polarization and reactions, whereas dialogue could be fruitful.”
Qatar has emerged as a significant broker in Afghanistan, hosting discussions between the US and the Taliban that resulted in the 2020 agreement to remove US-led NATO forces and hold subsequent intra-Afghan peace talks.
Qatar has assisted in the evacuation of both foreigners and Afghans, engaged the new Taliban rulers, and backed operations at Kabul Airport, with Qatar Airways planes making repeated visits to the city to fly in aid and ferry out passport holders since the US withdrawal last month.
Sheikh Tamim said his country has gone to great lengths to evacuate thousands of people from Afghanistan as a “humanitarian duty” in the aftermath of the Taliban’s takeover, and that it will continue to do everything it can, in coordination with its partners, to “preserve the tangible gains” made in Doha.
“We are pleased that Doha is the capital of international multilateral action in our region,” he said, adding that Qatar is anticipating the launch of the United Nations House in Doha in the not-too-distant future.
Sheikh Tamim went on to add that Qatar’s dependence on international organizations was a “strategic bet,” saying that relations between Doha and those institutions have been marked by tight cooperation over the past 50 years.
In his speech, the Emir also touched on a variety of topics, including the COVID-19 pandemic, cybersecurity, and regional crises like Yemen.