Photo: Zabihullah Mujahid

Qatari Foreign Minister meets senior Taliban leaders in Kandahar

Qatari Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, arrived in Kandahar on Friday for a meeting with top Taliban officials, including Prime Minister Mullah Hassan Akhund and Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi.

The Taliban’s longtime spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, said that Al Thani was accompanied by Qatar’s intelligence chief.

Zabihullah Mujahid said that the Qatari delegation and the Taliban leaders had discussed “enhancing and strengthe”n relationship and trust between the countries and cooperation on education, health and the economy.”

Qatari Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, left, meeting the Taliban’s Prime Minister, Mullah Hassan Akhund, in Kandahar. Photo: Zabihullah Mujahid

Qatar has been the host the Taliban’s political office in Doha, where the group held negotiations with the US over the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January, the Qatari top diplomat, who is also the Persian Gulf state’s Prime Minister, criticised the Taliban for restrictions of women and girls. The group, he said, was “provoking” the world and making “situation worse” for the people of Afghanistan.

Friday’s visit to Kandahar, the seat of the group’s supreme leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, is the first of a country’s Foreign Minister, instead of the capital Kabul.