Kabul to set deadline for Qatar with airport contract


The meeting of the economic commission, chaired by the first deputy prime minister, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, tasked the Foreign Ministry to give a definite time by which a Kabul airport contract would be signed.

A statement released by the office of the first deputy prime minister said in a statement that Qatari companies are currently running the technical affairs of the airport but there has been no contract.

Meanwhile, the Afghanistan Air Aviation Authority denied the reports which suggested the presence of Qatari forces at the Kabul airport.

“There was no military exercise. We have a fire and rescue team to act in case any incident happens,” said Ghulam Jailani Waf, deputy Minister of Transportation and Aviation.

Earlier, video circulated on social media showing the presence of Qatari forces at Kabul airport.

Analysts gave various opinions about the contract of Kabul airport with foreign companies.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should take immediate action to sign the contract. The arrival of business flights paves the ground for the reduction of traveling costs for Afghans,” said Torek Farhadi, a political analyst.

“Any contract that results in the permanent reliance of Afghan aviation systems on foreign companies is not in the interest of Afghanistan,” said Mohammad Qassim Wafayezada, former head of the Afghanistan Air Aviation Authority.

The economic commission also instructed the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior and Commerce as well as the general department of Intelligence to provide facilitate travel for Afghan traders.

Last month, an Islamic Emirate delegation during its visit to Turkey met with Turkish officials and discussed the pending deal on operating Kabul airport and several other international airports in Afghanistan.

The ministry said that negotiations over the management of technical issues of Afghan airports are ongoing between the Afghan team and the delegations from Qatar and Turkey.

A spokesman for the ministry, Imamuddin Ahmadi, said that a final decision would be reached within the next two weeks.

“We will not give the management of the airports to anyone. We will make contracts over the technical affairs of the international airports with standard and international companies,” said Imamuddin Ahmadi, a spokesman for the ministry. “Some members of the technical teams have been infected with Covid-19. Also, with the arrival of the new year, the delegations went for vacation and therefore the negotiations have been delayed. But the technical teams are in contact, so a final decision can be reached.”

The talks are focused on technical issues including air sovereignty control, safery of airplanes and passengers, as well as ground services.

A joint delegation of Qatar and Turkey arrived in Kabul last month to discuss the management of the Afghanistan’s major airports with the Islamic Emirate.

The two sides then reached an agreement over the formation of technical teams to follow up on the issue.

The Afghan technical team is comprised of seven members which are led by MoTCA.

The potential contracts are expected to increase the number of international flights to and from Afghanistan. After the fall of the former government, Afghanistan air space has seen a significant reduction in revenue.—Tolonews

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