Why Qatar Relishes Its Role as a Diplomatic Go-Between

Why Qatar Relishes Its Role as a Diplomatic Go-Between
Qatari airmen board a transport plane evacuating people at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 18, 2021 (Qatar Government Communications Office photo via AP).

Senior U.S. officials recently met face-to-face with counterparts from the Taliban for the first time since the hard-line Islamist group took control of Afghanistan in August. The talks, which the State Department described as “candid and professional,” took place in Qatar, which has played an important role as a diplomatic mediator between the U.S. and the Taliban in recent years. 

On the Trend Lines podcast this week, Annelle Sheline, a research fellow in the Middle East program at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, joined WPR’s Elliot Waldman to discuss Qatar’s history as a facilitator of sensitive negotiations, and what the small Gulf monarchy gains from playing this role.Listen to the full conversation here:


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The following is a partial transcript of the interview. It has been lightly edited for clarity.

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