The Taliban say they’ve signed a deal allowing an Emiratis company to manage three airports in Afghanistan after the fall of the country’s U.S.-backed government
Emirati company to handle three airports in Afghanistan
The Taliban announced an agreement Tuesday permitting an Emirati company to handle three airports in Afghanistan after the fall of the country’s U.S.-backed government. However, the United Arab Emirates did not immediately acknowledge the agreement.
Under the deal, the Abu Dhabi-based firm GAAC Solutions would manage the airports in Herat, Kabul, and Kandahar, the Taliban said. They held a news conference in Kabul in which they signed the deal with an individual they identified as a managing director for GAAC.
However, the agreement left more questions than answers, particularly as Qatar and Turkey had been in line to run the airports, though the agreement apparently broke down over requirements on holding their own security personnel on hand at the airports.
Gulf Arab nations already have agreed to represent the US in
The Gulf Arab nation already has agreed to represent the United States in Taliban-run Afghanistan following the closure of the American Embassy in Kabul and the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from the country in late August. Meanwhile, Qatar Airways had been running flights to evacuate American citizens out of Afghanistan since the takeover.
- The Taliban did not discuss the deal’s terms with the UAE, which has had strained relations with both Turkey and Qatar in recent years though tensions have recently eased.
Baradar had traveled to Abu Dhabi recently to offer condolences for the death of its president and speak with its new leader, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, according to Afghanistan’s state-run Bakhtar News Agency. However, the UAE never acknowledged his visit.
The Emirati Foreign Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment. GAAC Solutions describes itself on a one-page website as an Abu Dhabi-based joint venture whose partners include the firm G42. Officials at G42 have refused to identify who owns the company, though many suspects it links back to Abu Dhabi’s leading family.
GAAC and G42 did not reply to emails seeking comment. The Emirates’ state-run WAM news agency also did not acknowledge the deal, though the UAE was one of the few nations that permitted the Taliban to operate diplomatic posts in their nation during their earlier rule.
- GAAC reportedly signed a $47 million service contract in 2020 to run airports in Afghanistan, including ground handling, information technology, and security.
During the ceremony, Baradar said the Taliban wanted good relations with all countries and called on investors to come and invest in Afghanistan. He insisted the Taliban government would provide facilities and security for them.
Taliban have faced withering international criticism of
“After a while in which the negotiations were ongoing regarding the aviation agreement, thank God it has reached a conclusion and the agreement has been done,” Baradar told.
However, the Taliban have faced withering international criticism of their rule since seizing the country by force last August amid the American and NATO troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan.
They have declined to reopen schools for girls above the sixth grade, despite earlier promises. Last week they ordered women working on television to cover their faces.
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