Turkey holds first talks with the Taliban in Kabul

Taliban forces successfully surrounded the Afghan capital; Kabul on Sunday (15/8/2021) as the United States (US) was evacuating diplomats from its embassy by helicopter. Taliban Successfully Enter Afghanistan’s Capital

 

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said Turkey held its first talks with the Taliban in Kabul; adding Ankara was still assessing the armed group’s offer to assist in operating the international airport.

“We have held our first talks with the Taliban; which lasted three and a half hours;” Erdogan told reporters. “If necessary; we will have the opportunity to hold such talks again.”

NATO member Turkey had hundreds of troops in Afghanistan as part of the alliance’s mission; and had been responsible for the security of the airport for the past six years.

 

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Responding to domestic criticism over Turkey’s engagement with the armed group; Erdogan said Ankara had “no luxury” to stand idly by in the volatile region.

“You cannot know what their expectations are or what our expectations are without talking. What’s diplomacy; my friend? This is diplomacy;” Erdogan said.

Turkey had been planning to help secure and run Kabul’s strategic airport; but on Wednesday it started pulling troops out of Afghanistan – an apparent sign of Ankara abandoning this goal.

Erdogan said the Taliban now wanted to oversee security at the airport; while offering Ankara the option of running its logistics.

He said the twin suicide bombs that killed at least 110 people; including 13 US troops; outside the airport during the last days of an urgent evacuation effort on Thursday showed the importance of knowing the details of how the air hub will be secured.