Jun 11, 2021 15:29 UTC
  • Turkish troops should leave Afghanistan along with others: Taliban

The Taliban have called for the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Afghanistan, effectively rejecting Ankara’s proposal to keep forces in Kabul to guard and run the international airport after all foreign forces leave the war-torn county.

A Taliban spokesman, said in a text message to Reuters that Turkish troops should leave Afghanistan, under the 2020 deal, which was reached between the Taliban and the US to pull out all foreign forces. In return, the Taliban pledged to stop attacks on US troops.

“Turkey was part of NATO forces in the past 20 years, so as such, they should withdraw from Afghanistan on the basis of the agreement we signed with US on 29th Feb 2020," said Suhail Shaheen.

“Otherwise, Turkey is a great Islamic country,” he said. “Afghanistan has had historical relations with it. We hope to have close and good relations with them as a new Islamic government is established in the country in future.”

All foreign troops were supposed to have been withdrawn by May 1, but US President Joe Biden last month pushed that date back to September 11.

The Taliban warned that the passing of the May 1 deadline for a complete withdrawal “opened the way for” the militants to take every counteraction they deemed appropriate against foreign forces in the county.

Many have warned that the withdrawal of all forces will intensify violence in Afghanistan in the absence of a peace deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

In the meantime, the US and its NATO allies said they were exploring a possible international effort to help secure Kabul airport, which is Afghanistan’s main gateway to the outside world.

NATO said last month they will provide funding to help secure the airport, which they say is” one of the keys to maintaining a diplomatic presence” with Kabul.

According to Turkish officials, Ankara made the proposal at a NATO summit last month.

"In this framework, there are talks underway with NATO and the United States."

"We intend to stay in Afghanistan depending on conditions," Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement, earlier this week.

"What are our conditions? Political, financial and logistical support. If these are met, we can remain at Hamid Karzai International Airport," it added.