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Turkey still keen to run Kabul airport despite Taliban advances, officials say

August 11, 2021 at 7:00 pm

Afghan passengers carry their belongings as they come out from the domestic terminal, at the Kabul airport in Kabul on 8 August 2021. [WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images]

Turkey is for now still intent on running and guarding Kabul airport after other foreign troops withdraw from Afghanistan, but is monitoring the situation after rapid advances by Taliban forces, two Turkish officials said, Reuters reports.

Taliban fighters took control of another city in northern Afghanistan on Wednesday, the eighth provincial capital to fall to the insurgents in six days as U.S.-led foreign forces complete their withdrawal.

Turkey has offered to deploy troops at Kabul airport after NATO withdraws and has held talks with the United States for weeks. President Tayyip Erdogan has asked it to meet financial, logistical and diplomatic conditions.

“For now nothing has changed regarding the TAF (Turkish Armed Forces) taking control of Kabul Airport. The talks and the process are continuing,” a senior Turkish official told Reuters.

“Work is continuing on the basis that the transfer will happen, but of course the situation in Afghanistan is being followed closely,” he said.

The Taliban have warned Turkey against keeping troops in Afghanistan to guard the airport but Ankara has maintained its stance.

“There is no change in view concerning the taking control of Kabul Airport. But the situation in Afghanistan is changing from day to day,” a Turkish security official said, adding that Turkey was assessing developments.

READ: Turkey should send engineers not troops to Afghanistan, Taliban spokesperson says