Doha, Qatar: Qatar TV premiered yesterday an hour-long documentary-special “Al-Waseet” (The Mediator) on the evacuation operations that Qatar had led during and after the 2021 siege of Kabul. It showed that over 75,000 individuals passed through Qatar as part of evacuation following the fall of Kabul.
Following the 2021 capture of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul by the Taliban forces, the country was left in pandemonium. World media showed chaotic scenes around the Kabul International Airport of death and despair.
The Taliban came with a reportedly “more lenient” demeanor compared to their earlier rule of Afghanistan, and looked to form a working government.
“The government is working fine, government employees feel a sense of responsibility,” said current Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Amir Khan Muttaqi, who was one of several Taliban figures interviewed for the documentary.
“Our government is central and has come to guarantee citizens their rights. And if anyone wishes to do harm, we will stand firmly against this,” he continued.
Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Afghanistan H E Saeed bin Mubarak Al Khayarin said that in Qatar one would find all the qualities of a good mediator such as “impartiality” and “credibility” and a “proven place in the international community.”
The documentary stressed on the pivotal role Qatar played during the 2021 fall of Kabul, which was not exclusive to the role of mediator.
Qatar was the primary choice for mediator during the ordeal, as it was seen as a trustworthy partner by all parties to facilitate communication between the US, the western world, and the Taliban government.
“Qatar did not intervene in Afghanistan, and enjoys a great reputation among Afghan people,” said a spokesman for the Taliban government featured in the documentary.
Qatar is no stranger to the role as it had played mediator in many other previous conflicts in Lebanon, Sudan, Djibouti, and Eritrea.
The US government, as per the documentary, realised that there was only one way for it to coordinate with the Taliban government, and that it would have to be done through Qatar.
Anthony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, announced that his country’s military operation in Afghanistan had ended, and that it was time for a diplomatic operation, and for that, they would be shutting down their offices in Kabul and moving them to Qatar.
Qatar’s role however was not only limited to mediation efforts.
It housed many Afghan evacuees in its Park View Villas compound, and provided them with top physical and mental care, particularly unaccompanied minors who were evacuated during the Kabul airport chaos.
Many types of aid were extended by the Qatari government to Afghan arrivals, which included scholarships and even employment for some, as well as a safe waiting place until they got to their destinations. Qatar had also extended a crucial humanitarian hand and helped link Afghanistan with the outside world. The Qatari air-bridge that was set to facilitate the passage of foreign aid and diplomats into the now secluded Afghan capital of Kabul has helped preserve many lives. The first commercial liner to ever land in Kabul airport after the fall was a 777 Boeing that belonged to Qatar Airways.
This however, required that the Afghanistan airport must first go through a comprehensive repair job, an effort which a Qatari team undertook which included getting the airport’s traffic control tower running and fixing the radar system.
Over 75,000 Afghan individuals have passed through Qatar following the fall of Kabul, a number of them who were able to travel from there to elsewhere. Many Afghan interpreters, NGO workers, and dual citizens were able to relocate into safe places primarily due to Qatari efforts.