12/20/2021, 19.07
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Turkey and Qatar to operate five Afghan airports

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu made the announcement on the sidelines of the summit of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation held yesterday in Islamabad. Ankara and Doha are ready to operate Kabul International Airport. Plans to build a railway to Uzbekistan were also discussed at the summit.

Kabul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Turkey could run five airports in Afghanistan together with Qatar, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said after the summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held yesterday in Islamabad.

OIC members decided to set up an emergency fund in response to the humanitarian crisis that has gripped Afghanistan after the Taliban retook the country.

At a press conference, Çavuşoğlu explained that a delegation of experts will travel first to Doha and then to Kabul to discuss ways to operate Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport. Turkey and Qatar began to focus on this issue soon after the US withdrawal.

They later plan to reach out to the Emirate of Afghanistan to discuss running four other airports. "We will operate the airports jointly with Qatar if conditions are favourable,” Çavuşoğlu said.

Although the OIC has not formally recognised the Taliban government, Turkey has adopted a pragmatic approach, and will monitor developments in the country, keeping communications open with all relevant local leaders.

On the sidelines of the OIC summit, plans to build a new railway between Kabul to Tashkent were also discussed.

Acting Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi met with Uzbekistan's Transport Minister Makhkamov Ilkhom, who promised to train Afghan staff. The project, which is expected to cost US$ 4.8 billion, should start in the spring.

“A delegation will soon visit Uzbekistan to discuss the technical issues,” said Ahmad Wail Haqmal, a spokesman for the Taliban Ministry of Finance. 

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