Qatar reaches deal to resume Afghan evacuations

Qatar has reached an agreement with the Taliban to resume chartered evacuation flights from Afghanistan, ending a dispute that resulted in a months-long pause, according to a report.
Axios news agency, citing an interview with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, reported that Qatar and the Taliban had agreed to operate two chartered Qatar Airways flights per week.
The agreement is expected to allow thousands of vulnerable Afghans and foreign citizens to be evacuated from the country following the chaotic withdrawal by United States troops and other foreign forces in August last year, when the Taliban took over the capital, Kabul, following a lightning-fast offensive across the country.
The update comes after Axios reported last week that the US plans to up its evacuation and resettlement efforts again.
Qatar had since September operated sporadic chartered flights from Kabul. However, those flights had stopped in early December amid a dispute with the Taliban over which passengers were being permitted on the flights, according to Reuters news agency.
The first evacuation flight in months took off from Kabul bound for Doha on January 26, it reported.
US officials have repeatedly praised Qatar’s role in serving as an intermediary with the Taliban, who fought the US for 20 years in Afghanistan. Washington, which does not officially recognise the Taliban as the legitimate government in the country, in November announced Qatar would serve as its representative in Afghanistan.