Qatar has urged the west to step up its engagement with the Taliban, warning that failure to do so would risk Afghanistan falling into deeper chaos and a rise in extremism. Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told the Financial Times that maintaining the status quo “where the west is boycotting Afghanistan, and just focusing on part of the humanitarian activities through the international agencies” was not going to keep “Afghanistan intact”.
“We will see maybe a rise of extremism. We will start to see an economic crisis, which has already started, and this will just drive the people to more radicalisation and conflict,” Sheikh Mohammed said. “This is what we are trying to avoid.” Qatar is one of the few countries to have relations with the Taliban and it has been the main facilitator of talks between the US, its European allies and the Islamists.
Doha has hosted a Taliban office since 2013 and it played a vital role in evacuating westerners and vulnerable Afghans after US president Joe Biden ordered American troops out of Afghanistan last August. Many western embassies responsible for Afghanistan relocated to Doha as the Taliban ousted the western-backed government and seized control of the country. In the nine months since the last US troops withdrew, Afghanistan has been plunged into a deepening humanitarian and economic crisis. The financial system remains effectively frozen by international sanctions as the country is blighted by acute hunger and rampant unemployment. The Taliban are also facing mounting international isolation over signs that they are reviving the regressive measures that characterised their rule in the 1990s.
Source : FINANCIAL TIMES