The United States and Qatar have reached an agreement for Qatar to represent American diplomatic interests in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
The move is seen as a signal of potential future direct communication between Washington and Kabul, Reuters reported.
Qatar is expected to sign the deal with the U.S. on Friday to act as a “protecting power” for American interests in Afghanistan. Qatar’s role will be as an intermediary in official dealings between Washington and the Taliban government in Kabul, which the American government has not recognized.
The U.S. and its Western allies have no yet determined how to deal with the Taliban being in power after the Islamist group’s August takeover of Afghanistan as American troops withdrew from the country after 20 years of war.
Few countries have been ready to formally recognize the Taliban as the rulers of Afghanistan, especially as the group is not fulfilling its promises of including various groups in governing and on the treatment of women and minorities.
However, according to experts, winter’s approach means that many Western nations are rethinking their strategy, worried that colder weather could see the country fall into a humanitarian crisis.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will announce the deal with Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani at a Friday press conference.
The agreement, set to begin on December 31, will see Qatar set aside a portion of its Afghanistan embassy staff to deal with American interests, as well as to work with the U.S. embassy in Qatar and the U.S. State Department. The embassy will also provide limited consular services to American citizens.
An American official told Reuters that the country will also continue to engage with the Taliban through the group’s office in Doha, Qatar.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)