Taliban desires Turkey to run Kabul Airport
- Turkey decides, following a request from the Taliban, to help operate Kabul airport.
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced talks with the Taliban.
- The talks took place in a military facility at Kabul Airport, where the Turkish embassy is stationed.
Turkey today held its first talks with the Taliban about assistance in the operation of the capital’s airport in a military facility at Kabul airport, where the Turkish embassy is temporarily stationed.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ankara is still considering the Taliban’s offer to help operate the Hamid Karzai International Airport (KBL) in Kabul and further discussions may be required before the decision is made.
“We had our first talks with the Taliban, which lasted three and a half hours,” said Erdogan. “If necessary, we will have the opportunity to hold such discussions again.”
Turkey had hundreds of soldiers stationed in Afghanistan as part of the NATO mission and has been responsible for the security of the airport for the past six years.
In response to domestic criticism of Turkey’s involvement with the terrorist group, Erdogan said that Ankara had “no luxury” to stand by in the volatile region.
“You cannot know what their expectations are or what our expectations are without speaking. What is diplomacy, my friend? That’s diplomacy, ”said Erdogan.
Turkey had planned to secure and operate Kabul’s strategic airport, but on Wednesday it began withdrawing troops from Afghanistan – an obvious sign that Ankara is abandoning that goal.
Erdogan said the Taliban now wanted to monitor security at the airport and at the same time offer Ankara the opportunity to operate its logistics.
He said the twin suicide bombings, which killed at least 110 people, including 13 U.S. soldiers, outside the airport in the final days of an urgent evacuation Thursday, showed the importance of knowing the details of securing the air hub .
Erdogan said calm should be restored in Kabul before a decision on the airport is made, adding that there is a risk of being “drawn” into something that is difficult to explain given the uncertainty about the possible mission .
“The Taliban said, ‘We’ll keep it safe, you run the airport.’ We have not yet made a decision on this issue, ”said Erdogan.
Ankara has evacuated at least 350 soldiers and more than 1,400 people from Afghanistan since the Taliban came to power this month.
Erdogan, who had previously criticized the Taliban as they swept the country en route to Kabul, said Turkey is aiming to complete evacuations and troop withdrawals as soon as possible.