Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani met with the Taliban’s supreme leader Haibatullah Akhunzada in a secret visit to Afghanistan on May 12. The meeting took place in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban movement and the current residence of Akhunzada.
The two officials discussed the situation in Afghanistan and ways to improve ties between Kabul and the international community. They also talked about ending the Taliban’s ban on girls’ education and female employment, which has been in place since late 2021.
Qatar has also criticized the Taliban’s restrictions on women and urged other countries to engage with Kabul to prevent further humanitarian and security crises.
The US has demanded that the Taliban respect human rights, especially for women and girls, and form an inclusive government that reflects the diversity of Afghanistan.
However, some analysts doubt that Akhunzada will make any significant concessions until he resolves internal divisions within the Taliban over the issue of women’s rights. The Taliban has faced resistance from some segments of Afghan society, as well as international pressure, over its harsh policies towards women and girls.