Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The United Arab Emirates will most likely manage Afghanistan’s Kabul airport as part of the deal reached with the Taliban government in the country.
Ever since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent Taliban takeover of the country, the new government has struggled with finding an operator for the country’s major airport – the only links with the world for the landlocked country.
While the Taliban government remains formally unrecognised by the vast majority of the world’s countries, several regional powers – the UAE, Qatar and Turkey – have reportedly been in talks with the Taliban on operating the country’s airports.
Citing sources informed of the deal, Reuters claims that the Taliban are now poised to announce that they have reached an agreement with the UAE, which has also previously operated airports in Afghanistan.
The agreed-upon deal includes provisions that Afghan nationals would be employed at the airports, including in security roles. Sources note that this provision was important to the Taliban for two reasons – primarily, because the current government strongly opposes any presence of foreign security forces, but also because it would demonstrate that the Taliban government can create jobs for the local population.
A security contractor linked to the UAE will also be contracted to provide security services – presumably by using local workers – while negotiations continue on who will be contracted to manage the airspace over Afghanistan.
UAE state-linked GAAC consortium had previously received a contract with the Taliban to manage the ground services at the Kabul airport, the same company which handled both ground services and security before the Taliban takeover of the country.
The UAE airlines, which have ceased their flights to Afghanistan when the Taliban took power in the country, are now expected to resume their regular flights to Kabul and possibly other airports after the deal is finalised.