Wednesday Jul 14, 2021
KABUL: The Afghan Taliban have rejected the idea of deploying Turkish troops to secure Kabul airport, saying that the announcement made by the Turkish rulers at the request of the United States would harm bilateral relations between Turkey and Afghanistan.
The spokesman for the Afghan Taliban, Suhail Shaheen, said that the decision of Turkey to deploy its forces at the Kabul airport is a "frivolous step."
"This decision is against our nation, national sovereignty, and regional security," said Shaheen.
The spokesman further added that the Turkish authorities are strongly advised to "reverse the decision", adding that the presence of foreign forces in any country, in any capacity, is akin to aggression.
Shaheen added: "We do not interfere in anyone's affairs and do not allow interference in our affairs. If the Turkish authorities do not reconsider their stance, the Islamic emirate and the Afghan nation will stand firm against it."
It should be noted that according to Afghan media reports, Turkey and the United States have agreed on the scope of security at the Kabul airport. Afghan Civil Aviation says that a new defence system has been activated at the Hamid Karzai Airport in Kabul.
Last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had proposed a new joint mission, along with Pakistan and Hungary, to protect and run Kabul's international airport following the withdrawal of foreign troops from there.
Speaking during the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) summit in Brussels, the Turkish president had said his country would need "diplomatic, logistic and financial assistance" from the US if it were to maintain troops in Afghanistan for security operations.
According to TRT World, Ankara is reported to have offered to guard the airport amid concerns over the security along major transport routes and at the airport, which is the main gateway to Kabul.
"If they don't want us to leave Afghanistan, if they want a (Turkish) support there, then the diplomatic, logistic, and financial support that the United States will give us will be of great importance," Erdogan said.
Turkey currently has some 500 soldiers in the war-torn country.
On the other hand, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had said the coalition had not decided during a leaders' summit on who would run the Kabul international airport after the troops’ withdrawal.