The Afghan Taliban have called on Turkey to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan following the 2020 deal for the pullout of foreign forces, thus rejecting Ankara’s proposal to run the Kabul airport after the US-led NATO forces depart.
The Taliban spokesperson told Reuters on Thursday that Turkey was a part of the NATO forces in the past 20 years. Per the deal, they should leave as well.
This development has raised some serious questions for the United States, other countries and international organizations with teams working in Afghanistan on how to evacuate their personnel safely should the fighting threaten Kabul.
Taliban’s demand appears to have dashed Turkey’s hopes of using its presence in the country.
Kabul to improve its ties with the United States – strained when Ankara purchased Russian defence system – in talks set between US president Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday.
Reuters asked the Taliban whether they rejected Turkey’s proposal of keeping its forces in Kabul to the international airport. “Turkey was part of NATO forces in the past 20 years, so as such, they should withdraw from Afghanistan on the basis of the Agreement we signed with the US on 29th Feb 2020”, the Taliban spokesperson said.
“Otherwise, Turkey is a great Islamic country. Afghanistan has had historical relations with it. We hope to have close and good relations with them as a new Islamic government is established in the country in future,” he added
Speaking on the Arab News, Taliban representative Zabiullah Mujahid also voice similar concerns. He said that whether it is the United States or Turkey, we will not tolerate any foreign presence in our country. Turkish forces have to leave, and if Turkey refuses to comply, they will have to face staunch resistance.