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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Afghan conundrum bolsters Qatar’s global influence

Afghan conundrum has bolstered Qatar's global influence as a neutral mediator and facilitator of Doha talks bringing end to the "endless" war. Analysts deems Qatar as a "Geneva of the Middle East" and laud at its prudent soft power diplomacy play to secure its international standing.

Afghan crisis has strengthen Qatar’s global influence through its unprecedented role as a neutral mediator, facilitator of Doha talks and its presence in Kabul airport. Qatar’s role is predominant especially in the wake of lightening chaos due to US airlift, Kabul airport explosions and ensuring the reopening of the airport to bring some normalcy in the capital.

Qatar’s global influence cemented through Kabul embassies shift

Political leaders have flocked to Doha and some countries have moved their Kabul embassies to Qatar, all praising their host for its key role in the airlift out of the Afghan capital.

Tiny Qatar has seized the moment, cementing its outsize global influence and reputation as a neutral mediator after winning the trust of all sides in Afghanistan’s forever war.

Read more: Qatar stands for peace in Afghanistan

Doha talks paved the way for Qatar’s global influence

Qatar invited the Taliban to open a political office in Doha in 2013, with then US president Barack Obama’s blessing as conflict in Afghanistan raged.

It went on to host talks between Washington and the Taliban that concluded in 2020 with a troop withdrawal agreement, followed by direct negotiations between the former insurgents and Afghan government.

The tiny island’s efforts proved to be a matchless endeavor to strike dialogues and deal between two groups, the US and the Taliban, something that was unimaginable before. Qatar’s efforts played a vital role in bringing an end to the “endless” Afghan war.

Read more: Qatar’s continued role as go-mediator with Taliban essential

Qatar, the “Geneva” of Middle East

Doha’s long-standing hotline to the Taliban ultimately helped Qatar burst onto the world stage as the lynchpin of efforts to evacuate desperate Afghans and foreigners — and now the push to reopen Kabul airport.

“The Qataris have earned a reputation as honest brokers who are willing to help multiple warring parties to a find a way to end these conflicts,” said Colin Clarke, senior research fellow at the Soufan Center.

“I think what Qatar got out of it was a growing recognition that Doha is the place to make a deal. It has grown into the Geneva of the Middle East, a place where warring parties can meet on neutral territory.”

The country’s determined narrative on fostering intra Afghan dialogue has cemented Qatar’s global influence highlighting the fact that it can play on this soft power diplomacy tactic to secure its national interests and standing in the international community.

Read more: Qatar stands for peace in Afghanistan