After a Turkish proposal to secure Kabul airport, the Taliban demanded that Ankara withdraw its forces from Afghanistan


date of publication:
Jun 10, 2021 21:50 GMT

Update date: Jun 11, 2021 5:25 GMT

The Taliban demanded that Turkey withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, according to an agreement last year on the withdrawal of US forces; Which effectively means the movement’s rejection of Turkey’s proposal to guard and manage Kabul airport after the departure of NATO forces led by the United States.

This development raises serious questions for the United States, other countries and international organizations that have missions in Kabul regarding how to safely evacuate their workers from Afghanistan, a landlocked country that does not overlook water bodies, in the event of fighting threatening the capital.

It also appears to dash Ankara’s hopes of benefiting from the Kabul airport security to help improve relations with Washington, which have been strained by Turkey’s purchase of Russian defense systems, during scheduled talks on Monday between US President Joe Biden and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

And on whether the Taliban rejects the Turkish proposal to keep forces in Kabul to guard and manage the international airport after the departure of other foreign forces, the movement’s spokesman in Doha, Suhail Shaheen, said that these forces should leave as well.

“Turkey has been part of the NATO forces for the past 20 years, and therefore it should withdraw from Afghanistan on the basis of the agreement that we signed with America in 2020,” Sahin added.

He continued, “Other than that, Turkey is an Islamic country, and Afghanistan has historical relations with it. We hope that we will have close and good relations with them with the establishment of a new Islamic government in the country, in the future.”

The agreement signed in February 2020 with the Taliban during the administration of Donald Trump stipulates that all US forces will leave Afghanistan by May 1.

But Biden said in April that the withdrawal would be completed by the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Turkish officials say they presented the airport proposal at a NATO meeting in May.

With the escalation of violence, American fears prevail that the departure of foreign forces and the stalled peace talks in Afghanistan will lead to all-out civil war, bringing the Taliban back to power.

Turkey still has more than 500 soldiers in Afghanistan, training the security forces.


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