Taliban renew demand that Turkey leave Afghanistan
American and Turkish officials are still ironing out the last details on how to secure Kabul's airport.
DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images
Al-Monitor Staff
TOPICS COVERED
Armed Militias and Extremist Groups
Defense/Security cooperation
NATO
July 12, 2021
The Taliban on Monday reiterated its demand that Turkey’s military forces leave Afghanistan along with NATO and US forces departing the country this summer.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said Turkish forces would be considered an occupying force and the group would “act against” them if they do not withdraw with the rest of NATO’s troops, which are set to leave the country by the end of August.
“Turkey has been in Afghanistan for the past 20 years with NATO, and if it wants to remain now, without any doubt, we regard it as an occupier and will act against it,” Mujahid told Arab News.
“We have lots of commonalities with Turkey … and they are Muslim. But if they intervene and keep its troops, then it will bear the responsibility,” he said.
The Taliban’s statement comes as US and Turkish officials are actively discussing Ankara’s proposal to leave some 500 troops at Kabul’s international airport to secure foreign diplomatic missions after the remaining NATO forces leave.
“We are still in discussions with the Turks on what security at the airport is going to look like,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Monday.
“There are some modalities and some requirements that we’re still working out with the Turks,” Kirby said, declining to speculate on what capabilities US officials may choose to retain at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Local reports in Syria last week suggested Turkish intelligence is seeking to hire Syrian mercenaries under the cover of private security firms and deploy them to Afghanistan. Turkey has deployed Syrian opposition fighters to conflicts in Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh in recent years — moves sharply criticized by UN, European and US officials.
Kirby said last week it would be “extraordinarily important” for any forces deployed to the airport to be “subject to international rule of law” and “the proper conduct and behavior for international security forces.”
Meanwhile, US officials are still “actively discussing” with regional governments using local basing to provide air and logistical support on shorter notice.
MORE FROM AL-MONITOR STAFF
Iran joins China, Russia in Shanghai Cooperation Organization
Al-Monitor Staff | Sep 18, 2021
Lebanon hires international consulting firm to conduct audit
Al-Monitor Staff | Sep 18, 2021
US military sale to Saudi Arabia moves ahead
Al-Monitor Staff | Sep 17, 2021
Subscribe to Our Newsletters
Sign Me Up!
POPULAR ARTICLES
Did whales originate in Egyptian waters?
Muhammed Magdy | Culture | Aug 31, 2021
Is Moscow using the S-400 against Turkey?
Semih Idiz | Turkey | Sep 3, 2021
Iraqi Kurdish leader helps ease Turkey-UAE tensions
Amberin Zaman | Turkey | Aug 31, 2021
Boxed in: Bennett, Abbas can’t win despite ‘goodwill gestures’
Week in Review | Israel | Sep 3, 2021
What Erdogan missed in skipping Baghdad conference
Fehim Tastekin | Turkey | Sep 2, 2021
RECOMMENDED ARTICLES
Turkish civic groups protest abductions, forced disappearances 
Sibel Hurtas | Turkey | Sep 17, 2021
Kaçırılma girişimlerine tek bir soruşturma yok
Sibel Hurtas | Turkey | Sep 17, 2021
Turkish synagogues get makeover as Izmir strives for UNESCO stamp
Nazlan Ertan | Turkey | Sep 16, 2021
Turkey’s blind eye to jihadis worsens its predicaments in Syria
Fehim Tastekin | Turkey | Sep 16, 2021
RECENT PODCASTS
Europe, West threatened by atmospheric Jihadism and the entrepreneurs of wrath, says Gilles Kepel
Michael Oren: Israel must build case legitimizing possible action against Iran 
Iraqis fear worse chaos amid waning US presence, says Bilal Wahab
Knesset member Yossi Shain: US needs to work with Israel on new regional alliances, Iran 
Armenia expert Richard Giragosian: Peace between Armenia, Turkey more likely than before
NEWSLETTERS
Subscribe
© 2021 Al-Monitor, LLC. All rights reserved.