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Afghan media confirmed that a delegation from the Afghan proxy government is visiting Qatar to discuss the management of Afghan airports. The government news agency stated that the delegation is headed by the Acting Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Mullah Hamidullah Akhundzadeh. Other officials include Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister, Amir Khan Mottaki. Recent meetings focus on contracts on hold for five Afghan airports that Qatar and Turkey will help operate. The official news had confirmed that the Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Afghan Economic Committee, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, assigned the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs to set a deadline for signing the Kabul Airport contract with the State of Qatar. Based on the contract, management of Kabul International Airport and four other airports in Afghanistan will be handed over to Qatar and Turkey. The press release issued by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister also instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant bodies to facilitate the granting of entry visas to foreign investors to Afghanistan.

A delegation in Doha
Tolo News Network said that the delegation that arrived in Doha consists of officials from the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and the visit aims to focus on contracts for the management of technical affairs for five major Afghan airports. “This visit, which includes the Acting Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Information and Culture, and the Deputy Minister of Defense, will discuss the technical affairs of five major airports,” said Imamuddin Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
The former Deputy Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Imam Muhammad Waremash, expressed his belief that handing over the technical operation of the airport to foreign companies will enhance the credibility of the Afghan aviation system. “I hope the Islamic Emirate will be able to sign this contract soon,” he said. While the economic expert Daria Khan Bahir said: “The delivery of technical operations of airports to an investor country is effective for the Afghan economy.”
“It can help the country’s economy by providing service to airlines and passengers,” said financial analyst Sayar Qureshi. “The increasing number of business flights will stimulate the Afghan economy and benefit Afghanistan.”

Ongoing talks
Qatari and Turkish technical teams have been dispatched to Kabul after the completion of the withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan on August 31 last year. Teams were tasked with repairing parts of Hamid Karzai International Airport to resume civilian flights after mass evacuations.
The two countries have been in talks with the Afghan interim administration since last year about operating some of the country’s airports. Qatari and Turkish companies are currently operating technical parts of the airport without a contract. Earlier this month, the acting Afghan government tasked the State Department with setting a deadline for contracting with Qatar on Afghan airport operations. Qatar and Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding in December last year on managing parts of Afghanistan’s airports. Agreement on airport operations is critical in supporting the country during its economic crisis, which has worsened since the Taliban seized power on August 15, 2021.
Previously, the spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, Imam Al-Din Ahmadi, said, “We will conclude technical affairs contracts for international airports with standard and international companies… Some members of the technical teams were infected with Covid 19, and with the advent of the new year delegations went on vacation, and therefore negotiations were delayed. But the technical teams are in contact, so a final decision can be reached.” Talks focus on technical issues including air sovereignty oversight, aircraft and passenger safety, as well as ground services. A joint delegation from Qatar and Turkey in Kabul last month discussed the management of the main airports in Afghanistan. Then the two sides reached an agreement on forming technical teams to follow up on the issue. The seven-member Afghan technical team is led by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The potential contracts are expected to increase the number of international flights to and from Afghanistan. After the fall of the previous government, Afghan airspace experienced a significant decline in revenue.
In February, US President Joe Biden ordered the release of $7 billion in Afghanistan money. The Biden administration decided to give Afghans living in difficult humanitarian conditions $3.5 billion of the total amount. The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has also worsened over the years due to war, drought and corruption. According to the United Nations, more than 24.4 million people need humanitarian assistance to survive. A report from 2021 estimated that 97% of Afghans could live in poverty by the middle of this year.