The British news agency Reuters revealed that a secret meeting took place on May 12 in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar between senior Taliban leader Akhundzadeh and Qatari Prime Minister As-Sani. Sources told Reuters that the Taliban leader hosted al-Shani in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar. This meeting was interpreted by international media outlets as "a step towards Afghanistan's willingness to open up to the outside world" and "Ahundzadeh will meet with a foreign leader for the first time".
US President Joe Biden was said to be aware of this meeting. A source said that the Qatari minister told Ahundzadeh that "the ban on education for girls and employment for women must end."
The meeting, which took place in Afghanistan, was also described as "a diplomatic success for Qatar". "The meeting took place in a very positive atmosphere. Akhundzadeh showed a lot of interest in continuing to dialog with the international community."
The White House, Qatar and the Taliban had no immediate comment. Qatar has no diplomatic ties with Afghanistan and its embassy in Kabul remains open.