From Afghanistan to the World Cup, Tiny, Wealthy Qatar Steps Up

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DOHA, Qatar — As chaos took over the United States’ last-minute efforts to evacuate more than 120,000 of its citizens and partners from Afghanistan last month, a tiny, wealthy country that many Americans would struggle to find on a map suddenly found itself uniquely placed to help out.

Qatar, a sandy, sun-baked peninsula in the Persian Gulf, received about 60,000 Americans and Afghans, more than any other country. And with its ties to both the United States — it hosts the largest American military base in the Middle East — and the Taliban, it is well placed to play a strong role as an intermediary between the new Taliban-run Afghanistan and the West.

The gas-rich country, which has long used its tremendous wealth to punch above its weight, is having a moment in the world spotlight.

Even as it delivers tons of food and medical aid to Afghanistan and hosts the American secretaries of defense and state, who flew to Qatar this week, it has made…

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