Taliban supreme leader, Qatari PM hold talks in Afghanistan

The May 12 talks included a meeting between Taliban’s Haibatullah Akhunzada and Qatar’s Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada
Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and Mullah Haibatullah Akhunzada [File: Reuters]
Correction31 May 2023
The meeting between the Qatari PM and Taliban took place in Kandahar and not Kabul as previously reported.

The Qatari prime minister held talks with the Taliban earlier this month, signalling a new effort by the Taliban to end its international isolation since they took over Afghanistan nearly two years ago.

The talks took place on May 12 in the southern city of Kandahar, which included a meeting between the Taliban’s supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhunzada, and Qatari PM Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani. However, no details or official readout from the meeting have been released.

According to state outlet Qatar News Agency, Al Thani’s visit came in the context of the country’s “political role in communicating with various parties in addition to facilitating the relations between the caretaker government and the international community and seeking to achieve security and prosperity for the Afghan people”.

According to Reuters news agency, a diplomatic source said United States President Joe Biden was also briefed on the talks between the two countries.

“He had a brief meeting with Haibatullah [Akhunzada]. This is very important because this was the only time that an international leader has met Haibatullah,” Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid said.

“They discussed a lot of issues, especially security. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s commitments to the international community also came up. In conversation with some Taliban officials, there were also discussions about women’s rights and reopening schools,” he added.

The US has imposed heavy sanctions on the country since Kabul fell to the Taliban, including commercial restrictions and freezing its assets, which the group says are making the situation for Afghans more dire.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies