Qatar urges 'reconciliation' in Afghanistan
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Qatar's foreign minister called for "national reconciliation" in Afghanistan as a "safety valve" for the country's stability during a meeting with his French opposite number in Doha Monday.
Qatar has long acted as a mediator on Afghanistan, hosting the Taliban's talks with the United States under former president Donald Trump, and then with the now deposed pro-western Afghan government.
Qatar would "support all efforts that would achieve national reconciliation in Afghanistan," said Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.
"We believe that national reconciliation is the only safety valve for Afghanistan's stability in the future," he added.
Sheikh Mohammed on Sunday became the most senior foreign leader to visit the Taliban government, meeting new Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund according to the Taliban.
On Monday Sheikh Mohammed said that discussions about whether the Taliban should be recognised diplomatically were redundant and the emphasis should be on engagement.
The Taliban has yet to receive formal recognition from any United Nations member state, including Qatar.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that questions remained about the Taliban's promises on women's education and rights.
"There have been (Taliban) declarations but no action yet," said Le Drian.
"We are keeping up pressure at all levels for them to deliver on their promises."
Tensions have simmered in Afghanistan since the US completed its withdrawal last month, with sporadic street protests erupting in cities and armed resistance to Taliban rule persisting in the Panjshir valley.
Alongside its engagement with the Taliban, Qatar has also supported tens of thousands of Afghans who were evacuated in the final weeks of the US presence as they are processed before heading to other nations.
Dozens of French nationals have been evacuated from Afghanistan via Doha on Qatari planes, prompting Le Drian to thank the Qatari government.
He confirmed that there were "very few" French nationals still stranded in Afghanistan, saying that they only numbered in the tens.
Some 2,800 people were evacuated from Afghanistan by France, including 2,600 Afghans, Le Drian said.