Taliban oppose Ankara’s proposal to guard Kabul airport

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Turkey was interested in taking control of Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai International Airport if NATO allies permit…reports Asian Lite News

Taliban on Friday opposed Turkey’s proposal to guard Kabul airport and said that Ankara must leave Afghanistan as per the 2020 deal.

Suhail Shaheen, a spokesperson to the Taliban expressed his opposition to Turkey’s proposal to safeguard the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul after the US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) troops’ withdrawal, reported The Khaama Press Agency.

Previously Turkey has said it will protect the Kabul airport with 500 soldiers if the NATO allies provide financial, logistical, and political supports to them.

Turkey was interested in taking control of Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai International Airport if NATO allies permit.

Khaama Press reported that Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said that Turkish forces have agreed to take the control of the Hamid Karzai International Airport if allies provide support.

“500 Turkish forces in Afghanistan will take the control and responsibility of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, if financial, logistic and political support is provided by the allies,” Akar said in a meeting with its NATO allies.

The US, other countries, and international agencies operating in Afghanistan are concerned about the safe evacuation of its personnel if the situation gets worse post-US withdrawal from Afghanistan, reported The Khaama Press Agency.

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The US and NATO forces are scheduled to take out troops from Afghanistan before September 11, 2021, which is the 20th anniversary of the US towers attack by Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda.

Pentagon officials had earlier said that Pakistan had allowed the US military to use its airspace and given ground access so that it could support its presence in Afghanistan.

However, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi refuted the claim and said that the country would not provide its military bases to the US for future counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan and also not allow drone attacks inside Pakistan.

Whereas, according to the New York Times, some American officials believe the negotiations have reached an impasse for now. The US intelligence agency CIA did use a base in Pakistan to launch drone strikes against militants but “was kicked out of the facility in 2011, when US relations with Pakistan unraveled,” the report said.

“Some American officials (told the newspaper) that negotiations with Pakistan had reached an impasse for now. Others have said the option remains on the table and a deal is possible,” the report explains.

According to NYT, William J. Burns, the CIA director, recently made an unannounced visit to Islamabad to meet the chief of the Pakistani military and the head of the directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence. US Defence Secretary Lloyd J. Austin also has had frequent calls with the Pakistani military chief about getting the country’s help for future US operations in Afghanistan. (ANI)

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