Turkey plans talks with Taliban over Kabul airport

Turkey plans talks with Taliban over Kabul airport

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Istanbul: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said Turkey was planning talks with the Taliban over the hardline Islamist group s refusal to let Ankara run Kabul airport after US troops withdraw from Afghanistan.

Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul: “God willing, we will see what kind of talks we will have with the Taliban, and see where these talks will take us.”

Turkey has been negotiating with US defense officials on its proposal to help protect and operate the Kabul Airport, which is the key to allowing countries to retain their diplomatic presence in war-torn countries after withdrawal.

Erdogan and US President Joe Biden discussed this issue in their first face-to-face meeting during the NATO summit in June.

Turkey has hundreds of soldiers in Afghanistan, but a Turkish official told AFP that they are “not combat troops”.

Officials said that Ankara and Washington have been discussing issues such as the financial and logistical support of the United States and NATO for the Turkish mission.

Last week, the Taliban called Turkey s offer “reprehensible”.

“We consider the stay of foreign forces in our homeland by any country under whatever pretext as occupation,” the group said.

Erdogan said the Taliban was not adopting “the right approach”.

“In our view, the Taliban s approach right now is not how a Muslim behaves to another Muslim,” he said, urging the insurgent group to stop its occupation.

“We call on the Taliban… to show the world as soon as possible that peace prevails in Afghanistan.”

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