President Erdoğan held a press conference after the bilateral and inter-delegation meeting with US President Biden and his delegation as part of the NATO Summit in Brussels. Making a statement about Turkey's position on ensuring the security of Hamid Karzai International Airport, President Erdoğan stated that there is a "compromise". President Erdoğan said, “If we are not asked to leave Afghanistan, the support of the USA in diplomatic, logistics and financial matters is of great importance.” He said, “We told them (Biden) that we thought of taking Pakistan with us, and our idea of taking Hungary with us.” made the statement.
Turkey does not want to undertake the said mission alone, but together with its friendly and allied countries such as Hungary and Pakistan. Following the continued military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the latest development and the reconciliation between the parties indicate that a new multinational mission will begin to ensure the security of Kabul Airport, the details of which will also be reflected to the public in the future.
As it will be remembered, the foreign ministers of Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan met in Istanbul on April 23, 2021. The Taliban did not participate in the Istanbul Conference, where the Taliban were also expected to attend. In a joint statement released after the tripartite summit, the Taliban called on the Taliban to reaffirm their commitment to the negotiated compromise.
The allegation that Turkey agreed with NATO to operate the Kabul airport
As NATO prepared to withdraw from Afghanistan, there was a significant development after security concerns about the country's important international airport increased. An Afghan government official told The National that the Turkish government had agreed to take charge of Kabul's international airport, Hamid Karzai International Airport, as part of a $130 million deal with NATO.
It was also stated that the agreement was greatly welcomed after weeks of uncertainty about the Turkish government's determination to defend Hamid Karzai International Airport. The Afghan official said details and the exact takeover date have not yet been confirmed. A second senior source confirmed the deal.
Regarding the development, Mahmood Shah Habibi, President of Afghanistan Aviation Support Association, believes that the news that Turkey has assumed responsibility for the Kabul airport will dispel some fears. “This will reassure the international community and it is a better solution because the Taliban never attacked the Turks,” Habibi said.
Speaking to The National before the agreement between Turkey and NATO was made public, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, former National Security Advisor to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, said, “We need a transition period of three or four years for the Afghan government to take control, but now we need to take over in three months. “Diplomats will not trust [the safety and security of the airport] and will leave Afghanistan. This is very dangerous." he had added.
Several hundred NATO-member soldiers are stationed at Hamid Karzai International Airport, where civil and military aircraft currently depart. Last month, Afghanistan's Civil Aviation Authority asked NATO to hand over control of the air traffic control tower of Kabul's airport. The situation has raised concerns about the Afghan government's capacity to safely operate international airports after withdrawal. “We are battling the transition to take over airports from NATO control,” an Afghan government official said last month. Due to a lack of expertise, we simply do not have the capacity to operate airports with Afghans and we do not have the financial strength to bring in private contractors.” made statements.
Turkey continues its efforts for permanent security of Afghanistan
With a ceremony held in Afghanistan's capital Kabul on March 30, 2021, Brigadier General Selçuk Yurtsızoğlu took over the command of the NATO-led Training, Advise, and Assist Commands (TAAC) from Brigadier General Ahmet Yaşar Dener. NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo and Turkey's Ambassador to Afghanistan Oğuzhan Ertuğrul also attended the ceremony. In his speech, Brigadier General Yurtsızoğlu, who took over his duty, said, “The Training, Assistance and Advisory Command and the Turkish contingent will continue to serve in close cooperation with the Resolute Support Mission and their Afghan counterparts as always.” had stated.
The US is reducing its military power in Afghanistan
The USA, which has been carrying out military operations in the Middle East for about 11 years as of the September 20 al-Qaeda terrorist attacks, stated in the press release that 2500 US military personnel stationed in Afghanistan will be withdrawn from Afghanistan before September 11, 2021. After the US announced that it would withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, Scandinavian allies Norway and Denmark agreed to do the same. Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide told the national broadcaster NRK, "We will start the withdrawal of the Norwegian forces on 1 May and will finish by September".