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Turkey evacuated over 1,400 of its citizens from Afghanistan

September 2, 2021 at 7:36 pm

Afghan families set up tents at a park in Kabul, Afghanistan on 29 August 2021 [Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency]

Last month, after the Taliban took power, Turkey evacuated more than 1,400 of its citizens from Afghanistan, the spokesman for Turkey’s Justice and Development (AK) Party said today, Anadolu Agency reports.

“We are closely following developments in Afghanistan. Starting on Aug. 16, 1,409 [Turkish] citizens were evacuated in seven expeditions,” Omer Celik told reporters after a closed-door meeting of the party’s central executive board in the capital of Ankara.

Afghanistan is the world’s “top foreign policy issue,” said Celik, and thanked everyone involved in the evacuation operation.

On the future of the airport in the Afghan capital Kabul, he said the Taliban proposed that Turkey operate the airport, provided that security is ensured by the group.

Such a mission would “benefit the Afghan people,” Celik said, adding that Turkey will evaluate the proposal in light of the safety of its personnel, historical friendly ties with Afghanistan, and the rights and interests of Turkey.

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On last month’s deadly bombings near the airport, he said: “We hope that Afghanistan will be cleared of all these terrorist groups as soon as possible, and the suffering of the Afghan people will end.”

Daesh claimed responsibility for the August 23 suicide bombings near the airport that claimed the lives of nearly 170 Afghans and 13 US service members.

The attack took place as Afghans flocked to the airport en masse in the final days of the US extraction effort, which saw more than 124,000 people ferried out of Afghanistan.

The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan after taking Kabul on Aug. 15, with the president and other top officials fleeing the country.