Turkey’s state-run news agency reported Thursday that a joint delegation of Qatari and Turkish companies has arrived in Afghanistan to discuss plans to run Kabul’s international airport jointly.
According to Anadolu Agency, Turkish and Qatari representatives met at the Qatar International Convention Center this week to coordinate details and are scheduled to travel to Kabul on Thursday to present their proposal to Afghanistan’s interim government, which has not yet agreed to it.
Afghanistan’s “requests and expectations” concerning the proposal will also be discussed with the joint delegation, officials said.
Turkish soldiers protected Kabul’s airport for six years until U.S. and NATO forces departed after the Taliban took control of the country. Turkey is a NATO member and has historical and cultural ties to Afghanistan.
As a national airport that provides access for humanitarian aid as well as the main gateway for landlocked Afghanistan, Turkey has long indicated its willingness to run the airport.
Turkish relations with the Taliban are aided by Qatar, which is a close ally of Turkey. A month-long U.S.-Taliban peace conference was held there in November 2009, and citizens of many other countries have since evacuated from Afghanistan. Qatar has been a transit point for about half of the people who have left the country.