Afghanistan | Turkey begins evacuating troops from Kabul airport
Defence Redefined
Published on 26/08/2021 at 11:15

Ankara withdraws from Kabul airport following Taliban rejection of Turkish troop presence there.

The Turkish military began evacuating its personnel from Kabul International Airport on Wednesday, according to a Turkish Defence Ministry statement. The move came after Turkish plans to station soldiers at the airport were rejected by the Taliban, who, in a press conference on Tuesday, said Afghanistan did not need the presence of Turkish troops.

According to sources, Turkey will only leave special forces at the airport after transporting other military and civilian personnel to Islamabad on Thursday morning. The special forces are understood to be dismantling Turkish military equipment based at the airport ahead of the August 31st deadline for the withdrawal of foreign troops.

Ankara is not evacuating the majority of its embassy personnel and the special forces are also expected to protect the remaining diplomatic personnel in Kabul.

Also read: NATO | Extraordinary Virtual Meeting on Afghanistan

For the past few years, Turkey has been guarding the airport’s military section against foreign attacks. Earlier this summer, Ankara was close to striking a deal with the US to continue the mission – but a sweeping Taliban takeover of the country has dramatically changed the circumstances.

Two Turkish officials told Reuters on Wednesday that the Taliban had asked Turkey for technical help to run Kabul airport after the departure of foreign forces, including Turkish troops. However, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid denied the Taliban made such a request. “It isn’t correct,” he said in a written statement to Middle East Eye.

The Turkish military said it had evacuated 1,129 of its citizens from Afghanistan aboard Turkish military planes. In a separate statement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would be in talks with all parties to help Afghanistan to reach stability.

Source: Middle East Eye

Also read: Afghanistan | Kabul Airport Incident – Latest Developments




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