Home Hate Of Speech The UAE’s Management of Afghanistan Airports Disturbs Doha

The UAE’s Management of Afghanistan Airports Disturbs Doha

The Taliban sign an agreement to regulate and operate Afghanistan's airports with the UAE.

Since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Qatar has been imposing itself in an attempt to control all contracts for the restoration of Afghan airports, and has tried to impose unfair, profit-making conditions without looking at Afghanistan’s earned benefit. Negotiations between the Taliban and Qatar in this regard have spanned nearly 10 months, with Afghanistan finally rejecting Qatari contracts and returning to the UAE.

Afghanistan signed a memorandum of understanding with the UAE in preparation for the UAE’s assumption of management of three Afghan airports. Abdul Ghani Baradar, Afghanistan’s deputy prime minister for economic affairs, was present at the signing of the deal, which will see the UAE-based GAAC/G42 Group assume responsibility for ground services at international airports in Kabul, Herat and Kandahar.

Abdul Ghani Baradar

Speaking about this, Baradar said the agreement would pave the way for all international airlines to return to Afghanistan.

Ibrahim Marafi, the regional director of the UAE Civil Aviation Authority, told AFP: “We are not a new face here, but signing the new contract will give confidence to international airlines to resume flights to Afghanistan.”

On the other hand, the Afghan behavior was not accepted by Qatar, but rather angered it, because it lost a significant investment that it had been seeking for months in the Afghan state, so it instructed its media and stations to broadcast rumors about the deal between the UAE and Afghanistan, and at the head of the critics of the deal was the director of the Qatari Al-Jazeera channel, Yasser Abu Hilala, who expressed his disapproval of the deal because of the UAE’s participation in the fight against the Taliban previously, to explain it as a Talabani penetration of the UAE or vice versa.

Yasser Abu Hilala

The announcement came as a surprise not only because of Afghanistan’s ongoing talks with Doha and Ankara, which appeared to be moving at a weak pace over the past months, but also because few observers who expected Bardar’s visit to the UAE last week would go so far.

While in the UAE, Bardar visited Afghan businessmen residing in the country, viewing them as a good point to invest in their homeland, which faces significant economic obstacles, due to Washington withholding billions of assets from the Central Bank of Afghanistan and curtailing aid and investment after the Taliban returned to power on August 15 last year.

“We have a responsibility to create safe spaces for you and your companies in order to rebuild this country together,” Bardar told businessmen, pointing to the damage to Kabul International Airport in August as an example of the work that remains to be done in the country.

This week’s agreement is not the first time GAAC/G42 has assumed this role in Afghanistan. The group signed a similar agreement with the previous government, but when Ashraf Ghani and his government fled and international forces withdrew, Kabul airport was largely left unmanaged.

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