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Qatari experts fly into Kabul to get airport up and running as Turkey drags feet

Qatari experts fly into Kabul to get airport up and running as Turkey drags feet

Efforts to reopen Kabul airport have resumed with a team of Qatari technical experts arriving in Afghanistan’s capital on Wednesday.

According to a CNN report, the technical team travelled to Kabul on a Qatari jet at the request of the Taliban, and while no final agreement had yet been reached, "talks are still ongoing at the level of security and operation," the report said.

The Taliban is keen to resume flights from the Kabul airport for desperately needed humanitarian assistance to flow in and freedom of movement.

Qatar has emerged as a key player in the region ever since it brokered the peace talks between the Taliban and the USA. 

Also read:  Turkey says calm must return to Kabul for final decision on operating civilian flights

The Taliban were earlier in touch with Turkey to get the airport up and running, but after the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport, the Turkish authorities went into wait-and watch mode.

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan had said on Friday that calm should be restored in Kabul before a decision can be made on running the airport for civilian flights.

"The Taliban have made a request regarding the operation of the Kabul airport. They say, 'We'll ensure security and you can operate it'. But we have not made a decision yet because there is always a possibility of death and such things there," Erdogan said at a news conference in Istanbul.

The French government is also reported to be in touch with the Taliban for the evacuation of some people that have been left behind in Afghanistan.

“The Security Council resolution about securing the airport must be implemented. The Taliban are in talks with the Qataris and Turks about management of the airport. We must demand that access to the airport is safe,” Le Drian told France 2 television.

Afghanistan is heavily reliant on foreign aid, and the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have already been finding it difficult to get crucial food and medical supplies to the airport while the US-led mass evacuation was in progress. Restarting commercial flights will also be crucial for people still wanting to leave the country but who did not make it onto military evacuation planes.

With the withdrawal of the US, American civil aircraft are barred from operating over the country unless given prior authorisation, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).