As Qatar and Turkey seek to take control of operations at the Kabul airport, Afghan businessmen are urging the government to sign a contract with a company from the United Arab Emirates instead, as many Afghans have investments in the UAE and they fear access will be restricted, Tolo News reported.
According to the traders, over 200,000 Afghans are settled there and have millions of dollars invested in the UAE, the report said.
Last Thursday, Qatari and Turkish officials visited Kabul to discuss the management of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul with Islamic Emirate officials.
"This contract is important for the Afghans who are living here. This contract should be given to the UAE. If the flights between Kabul-UAE are halted, the traders will face serious problems," said Obaidullah Sadar Khail, head of the Afghanistan traders' council in the UAE.
Traders said that around 10 flights a day were being operated between Afghanistan and the UAE before the fall of the former government.
"We call on the Islamic Emirate to give the management of the airports to the UAE as this will help develop the country," said Farid Ruhani, a trader, the report said.
But some former members of the Afghanistan Aviation Authority gave a different opinion.
"The international norms and other measures should be observed so that Afghanistan can provide good air aviation services and facilitate revenue," said Imam Mohammad Wrimach, the former deputy minister of transport.
Earlier, the Ministry of Transportation said that it had not reached an agreement with any company to run the Kabul airport.
"Our technical team had a meeting with them (Qatari and Turkish delegates). The meetings will continue until we reach a good agreement," said Imamuddin Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Transportation, the report added.