Karzai returns from Qatar visit focused on peace
Before leaving Doha, Karzai met Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani on issues of bilateral interest, the Presidential Palace in Kabul said.
Bilateral cooperation in various fields, including peace and Qatari investment in Afghanistan, figured prominently at the meeting, a statement from Karzai’s office said.
The president is believed to have conferred with his hosts on opening Taliban’s political bureau in Doha and a Qatari embassy in Kabul.
According to the state-controlled news agency, QNA, Karzai discussed issues of mutual interest with the emir. However, it gave no further details.
As reconciliation efforts continue, the Taliban do not appear to be enthusiastic about negotiations with the Karzai government that they have repeatedly called a “puppet regime”.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the group’s spokesman, said a day earlier: "The opening of the Taliban office in Qatar is not related to Karzai; it is an issue between the Taliban and the Qatar government."
Late on Saturday evening, President Karzai urged Qatari entrepreneurs to exploit the opportunities offered by his administration and invest in Afghanistan.
In his interaction with Qatari traders, Karzai made a pitch for investments by businessmen from the oil-rich Gulf state, a statement from the Presidential Palace said.
At the meeting chaired by Sheikh Ali bin Abdullah bin Thani, head of the state chamber of commerce, president Karzai said: “I have come from a country which is not so far away. Afghanistan offers good opportunities and resources, which it can share with you.”
He dangled opportunities of investment in Afghanistan’s mining, housing, reconstruction, energy, tourism and banking sectors.
The country’s future was secure because of the strategic partnership agreements it had signed with the US and several other countries including China, India and Russia.
China had invested $4.5 billion in the largest copper mine of Afghanistan, while India is putting id="mce_marker"1b in the same sector, the president explained. He called on Qataris to make use the chances.
Abdullah bin Thani welcomed President Karzai, praising the investment incentives in Afghanistan. Qatari investors were eager to utilise the chances, he added.
In Doha, Karzai also visited the Museum of Islamic Art, where rare artifacts from Afghanistan are on display. He evinced a keen interest in Afghan artists’ works, including handicrafts, wood engraving and other historical masterpieces.
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