Turkey’s support to friendly and brotherly Afghanistan will continue, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated Thursday.
Çavuşoğlu met the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani as well as his counterpart Mohammad Haneef Atmar in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.
Çavuşoğlu stated that he discussed efforts for lasting peace in Afghanistan.
Turkey’s top diplomat also exchanged views on the Afghan peace process and regional developments with U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad.
Turkey, whose forces in Afghanistan have always consisted of noncombatant troops, has offered to guard Hamid Karzai International Airport as questions remain on how security will be assured along major transport routes and at the airport, which is the main gateway to the capital Kabul. The security of the airport is crucial for the operation of diplomatic missions out of Afghanistan as Western forces pull out.
At the end of a series of meetings with NATO leaders on the sidelines of the alliance summit, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated that Turkey was seeking Pakistani and Hungarian involvement in the mission in Afghanistan following the departure of the U.S.-led NATO force.
However, the Taliban have opposed Ankara's proposal, saying that Turkey should also withdraw its troops in line with the 2020 deal for the pullout.
Far ahead of Washington's initial pledge of a complete troop departure by Sept. 11, which was recently modified by U.S. President Joe Biden to Aug. 31, the Americans vacated Bagram Airfield, the biggest military base in the war-ravaged country, and handed it to Afghan National Army earlier this month.
The Taliban recently claimed to have taken control of more than 85% of Afghanistan, with government forces surrounding and abandoning outposts.
The Afghan Defense Ministry, however, has rejected the Taliban's claims, asserting that hundreds of insurgents were killed in retaking the fallen districts.
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan until ousted by a U.S.-led coalition after Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in America. In recent weeks Taliban fighters have overrun several districts in southern and northern Afghanistan, convincing government security forces to surrender and seizing their weapons and military vehicles.
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