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Taliban warn Turkey of ‘consequences’ over its Kabul airport plans

AT News

KABUL: Taliban warned Turkey on Tuesday against its plans to provide security for Kabul airport after US-led foreign troops pull out of Afghanistan, warning Ankara of “dire consequences”.

In a statement on Tuesday, Taliban opposed the presence of Turkish forces in Afghanistan. “Turkish officials had decided, with the consent of the United States, to keep their forces in Afghanistan. But their presence in Afghanistan is a continuation of the occupation.”

The group says that Afghanistan and Turkey have religious, historical and cultural ties, and that its military presence evokes feelings of enmity and hatred between the two nations.

The group said that it interprets presence of any country under any name in Afghanistan as occupation and will stand against it. They warned Turkey that if it did not reconsider, it would attack the Turks as it had fought foreign forces, calling on Ankara to abandon “a decision that is not in the interests of Turkey and Afghanistan”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has previously said that a decision has been made on the country’s presence in Afghanistan. Ankara, which has offered to run and guard the airport in the capital after NATO withdraws, has been in talks with the United States on financial, political and logistical support.

Turkey has repeated that the airport must stay open to preserve diplomatic missions in Afghanistan, where a blast rocked Kabul on Tuesday and clashes have intensified across the country.

Meanwhile, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Monday evening that Turkey agreed to some points with U.S. counterparts on running the airport and work towards a deal continues.

“The airport needs to remain open, be operated. All countries say this. If the airport does not operate, the countries will have to withdraw their diplomatic missions there,” he said.

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