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Since the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the world's top diplomats have been beating a path to Qatar — long the gateway to the Taliban and now the essential go-between as the West tries to deal with the new Kabul government. This is no accident.

Analysts describe Qatar's emergence as a broker in Afghanistan as a part of a carefully nurtured strategy by the tiny but rich state to bolster its own security, by becoming indispensable as a venue for international mediation.

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