The Latest: Qatar sends high-level delegation to Afghanistan

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An Afghan man who was evacuated from Kabul sits on a wall at a temporary housing complex in Doha, Qatar, Aug. 21, 2021. Qatar played an out-sized role in U.S. efforts to evacuate tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan. Now the tiny Gulf Arab state is being asked to help shape what is next for Afghanistan because of its ties with both Washington and the Taliban insurgents now in charge in Kabul. (Qatar Government Communications Office via AP)

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Middle Eastern State of Qatar, which has played an outsized role in Afghanistan since the Taliban’s sweep to power on Aug. 15, has sent a delegation to Kabul. It is the highest diplomatic level delegation to visit the Afghan capital since the Taliban announced their interim Cabinet.

Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen tweeted Sunday about the high-level delegation, saying it included Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdur Rahman Al-Thani, the deputy prime minister who is also Qatar’s foreign minister.

He met with Taliban Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund. The Qatar delegation also met with former president Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, the previous government’s chief negotiator in peace talks with the Taliban.

The Taliban have maintained a political office in the Qatar capital of Doha since 2013. Last week, Qatar Airways became the first international airline to begin operating international flights out of Kabul international airport, transporting more than 250 foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, out of the capital.

Qatar has also provided technical assistance, along with Turkey, to restart the airport, which had been damaged by departing U.S. troops who left Afghanistan on Aug. 30 after evacuating tens of thousands of Afghans fleeing the return of the Taliban.

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MORE ON AFGHANISTAN:

— Taliban: Women can study in gender-segregated universities

— Kabul flag shop that started in Soviet era retools yet again

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