The Taliban spokesman told Reuters that Turkey should withdraw troops as part of the agreement with the US to withdraw foreign forces.
Turkey should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan under the 2020 agreement for the withdrawal of foreign forces, said a Taliban spokesman, who effectively rejected Ankara’s proposal to protect and run Kabul airport. after the departure of US-led NATO forces.
The development raises serious questions in the US, other countries and international organizations with missions in Kabul on how to safely evacuate their Afghanistan personnel without leaving the sea, in case fighting threatens the capital, the agency reported on Thursday. Reuters News.
Ankara’s hopes of using Kabul airport’s insurance to help improve ties with Washington, strained by Turkey’s purchase of Russian defense systems, also seemed to fail in talks on Monday. between President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Asked in a text message whether the Taliban rejected Turkey’s proposal to maintain forces in Kabul to monitor and direct the international airport after other foreign troops leave, the Taliban spokesman in Doha replied that they should go as well.
“Turkey has been part of NATO forces for the past twenty years, so they should withdraw from Afghanistan on the basis of the agreement we signed with the US on February 29, 2020.” , Suhail Shaheen told Reuters.
“Otherwise, Turkey is a great Islamic country. Afghanistan has had historical relations there. We hope to have close and good relations with them as a new Islamic government is established in the country in the future, ”he added.
The Turkish State Department and Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment, Reuters said.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with Turkish Defense Secretary Hulusi Akar on Thursday to “discuss bilateral cooperation and regional issues,” the Pentagon said in a statement, which did not specifically mention Afghanistan. .
Under the February 2020 agreement between the Taliban and the United States signed by former President Donald Trump’s administration, all U.S. forces were due to leave Afghanistan on May 1st.
But Biden said in April that the withdrawal would end on the twentieth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. that led to the U.S.-led invasion and the ousting of the Taliban government that protected the group. of Al Qaeda.
Turkish officials say they made the proposal at Kabul airport at a NATO meeting in May, when the US and its partners agreed on a plan to withdraw its forces on September 11 after 20 years. in support of the Afghan government in a war against the Taliban.
With the violence plummeting, many U.S. lawmakers and current and former officials fear the departure of foreign forces, and stalled peace negotiations are pushing Afghanistan into a total civil war that could bring the Taliban back to power.
The Pentagon says the U.S. withdrawal has been completed more than 50 percent. Turkey, with more than 500 troops still in Afghanistan, training security forces, now has the largest foreign military contingent there.
Australia closed the embassy last month for security reasons. The Taliban’s effective rejection of the Turkish plan to secure the airport could lead other countries to close their missions.
The development also poses a dilemma for the Biden administration, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken promising this week recently at a congressional hearing to maintain a U.S. diplomatic presence in Kabul.