By Ere-ebi Agedah
The Taliban and the United Arab Emirates will sign an agreement on controlling and managing Afghan airports.
According to a Twitter announcement made on Tuesday by Afghanistan’s acting deputy prime minister, Abdul Ghani Baradar, the deal comes after a months’ long scramble for influence in Afghanistan between the UAE, Turkey and Qatar.
The move will open the door to international investments in Afghanistan, which are now guaranteed security, said Baradar at the signing.
Afghanistan’s Kabul international airport was ravaged in August when the Taliban took control of the capital after the United States ended its two-decade military presence there.
Soon after the US withdrawal, Turkey and Qatar were expected to jointly operate and secure Kabul international airport.
The Qataris have been helping to run the Hamid Karzai International Airport, along with Turkey, after playing a major role in evacuation efforts following the chaotic US withdrawal in August, and have said they are willing to take over the operations.
A senior Emirati foreign ministry official told Middle East Eye in November that the UAE, which previously ran Kabul airport during the US-backed Afghan republic, “remains committed to continuing to assist in operating” it, to ensure humanitarian access and safe passage. Abu Dhabi also aided recent evacuation efforts.
Relations between the UAE and Qatar have been in the doldrums for years, as the two Gulf states have been competing for influence in the region.
Now, Emirati shipping and logistics company GAC Dubai – represented by Razack Aslam Mohammed Abdur Razack – will be responsible for operating and securing the airports.