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Taliban sign agreement with UAE to manage airport operations

A model of an Ariana Afghan Airlines airplane is seen in front of the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, September 5, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

The Taliban has signed a deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to manage the country's airports, the group's acting deputy prime minister said on Tuesday.

 According to a statement from his office Tuesday, the agreement was signed between Abdul Ghani Baradar and Razack Aslam Mohammed Abdur Razack of GAC Dubai, a shipping and logistics company “for the control and management of the airports in Afghanistan.”

The agreement was reached “after long negotiations,” Baradar said, hoping that the development would encourage international investment in Afghanistan to ease the country’s “suffering.”

“This will open the door for other countries” to invest, he said at the signing, while adding that “all countries that are interested in investment in Afghanistan, we can guarantee their security," he was quoted as saying.

During the chaotic evacuation of the US-led foreign forces from the airport in Kabul last August, critical machineries such as radar and communications equipment were destroyed, forcing nearly all international commercial airlines to suspend flights to Afghanistan for more than nine months.

The handover of control of the facility to a company with the technological expertise to repair and operate an international airport could be the first step toward the resumption of foreign flights, as per reports. 

The US-led allied forces beat a hasty retreat from the war-ravaged country in August last year, after the Taliban made stunning advances across the country and eventually laid siege to the capital Kabul.

So far no country has recognized the new rulers in Kabul, while calls have been growing for an inclusive, broad-based Afghan government.

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