Friday, October 15, 2021

Sources say Turkey dropped plans for Kabul airport, will help at the behest of Taliban

Ankara – Turkey has abandoned plans to capture Kabul airport after NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, but is ready to support the Taliban’s request, two Turkish sources said on Monday.

Turkey, which has 600 troops in Afghanistan, had offered to keep them in Kabul for security and operation of the airport after other NATO members withdrew, discussing details with Washington and President Ashraf Ghani’s government. Had been.

Plans fell into disarray over the past two days after Ghani fled the country on Sunday as the Taliban broke into Kabul and thousands of Afghans also gathered at the airport on Monday hoping to escape.

The Taliban also warned Turkey against placing troops in Afghanistan to operate the airport, a warning that Ankara had repulsed before Islamist militants headed towards the capital.

“Upon arrival, there was complete chaos at the Kabul airport. Order has been completely disrupted,” a source said on condition of anonymity. “At this stage, the process of control of the airport by Turkish troops has been automatically removed,” the person said.

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“However, if the Taliban asks for technical assistance, Turkey can provide security and technical assistance at the airport.”

Opposition parties in Turkey have criticized the government’s plans, saying such a mission would threaten Turkish troops and calling for their immediate withdrawal amid an escalation in violence.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has called for peace in Afghanistan and criticized the Taliban’s progress, said last week he may meet with the Taliban as part of efforts to end fighting in Afghanistan.

Ankara saw the airport’s mission as a potential area of ​​cooperation that could help heal strained relations with Washington and other NATO allies, which have been strained over a range of issues.

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