Published On: Thu, Jun 24th, 2021

Turkey, U.S. Meeting On Turkish Role In Protecting Kabul Airport

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By Janet Ekstract

ISTANBUL-Ankara was the meeting point on Thursday for U.S. and Turkish military officials to hash out plans on whether Turkish troops will continue to keep Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport under safekeeping after the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Turkish and U.S. military officials are meeting in Turkey to discuss plans for Turkish troops to continue securing Kabul’s airport after the withdrawal of U.S. and other NATO troops from Afghanistan. The goal is to maintain the gains made in the country while some analysts also maintain that another goal is that Turkey desires to expand its influence in Central Asia.

Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said no decision has yet been made regarding the situation but Akar said a technical delegation from the U.S. had arrived for talks. The Turkish president Erdogan said last week in private discussions at the NATO summit that Turkey wants “diplomatic, logistical and financial assistance” from the U.S. to operate the airport. Akar said the crucial point is: “We want to achieve the best result for the interests of our country and for those of Afghanistan. That’s what we are working for. Our aim is to continue working for the security, peace and welfare of our Afghan brothers.”

Hamid Karzai International Airport is the main entry into the country and Turkey is seeking support from its other allies for the plan as well. Erdogan said he also wants Pakistan and Hungary involved in protecting the airport. On Thursday, Akar commented: “Discussions on this matter are continuing. No decisions have been reached for now.”

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