DOHA (HRNW) – Providing neutral space for talks on ending Afghanistan’s 18-year conflict has boosted Qatar’s international profile and helped it defy a painful embargo enforced by neighbours and former allies.
After quietly brokering dialogue between the warring sides in Afghanistan, Qatar is on the verge of reaping a major diplomatic dividend if a deal is signed in Doha this Saturday that would see the Pentagon withdraw thousands of troops.
The negotiations have created incongruous scenes of Taliban fighters-turned-dealmakers rubbing shoulders with guests in revealing outfits in the lobby of a luxury Doha hotel, to strains of pop classics played by the resident pianist.
And Qatar has undertaken the ambitious project during a period of major regional challenges.
Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Doha in 2017, closing their airspace, borders and ports, and severing all trade.