Erdogan: Turkey ready to guarantee security of Kabul Airport


Published: 2021-08-19 10:28

Last Updated: 2024-04-18 20:30

Erdogan: Turkey ready to guarantee security of Kabul Airport
Erdogan: Turkey ready to guarantee security of Kabul Airport

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Thursday that Turkey is still ready to guarantee the security of Kabul airport even after the Taliban movement took control of Afghanistan, noting that Ankara is holding talks in this regard with all concerned parties.

"We had the intention to guarantee the security of the airport and contribute to the security of this country after the withdrawal of the US (forces). We still have the intention to do that," Erdogan said in a television interview.

"We are now setting our plans in light of the new realities that have emerged on the ground, and we are conducting our negotiations accordingly," he added.

US officials said that discussions on this issue are continuing with Ankara and expressed their gratitude for the role played by Turkey in evacuating civilians from Kabul.

Erdogan considered that "the Turkish military presence in Afghanistan will give the new (Afghan) administration an advantage in the international arena and facilitate its work."

Stressing that Turkey will stand by Afghanistan, he expressed his readiness to meet with Taliban leaders.

"We welcome the moderate statements made by the Taliban," he added.

The Turkish president indicated that he will discuss this file in the next few days with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

To date, Ankara has evacuated 552 Turkish citizens from Kabul.

Thursday morning, a Spanish military plane landed at an air base near Madrid, with "a little more than 50 people" on board, the first batch of Spanish citizens and Afghan refugees who were decided to be evacuated from Kabul after it fell into the hands of the Taliban.

The military plane, an Airbus "A400M", took off from Dubai airport on Wednesday evening at about 18:00 GMT and landed early Thursday morning at the Torrejon de Ardoz air base (northeast of Madrid).

According to the government, the number of passengers on the plane is "slightly more than 50 people."

This is one of three planes that the Spanish government has decided to send to Kabul to evacuate its nationals as well as all Afghans who have worked over the past years for Madrid and their family members.

In a related context, the United Nations announced on Wednesday that it had begun evacuating part of its staff from Afghanistan, at a time when hundreds of Afghan asylum seekers were trying to flee their country after it fell into the hands of the Taliban.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that about 100 UN staff will be evacuated from Kabul to Almaty in Kazakhstan, without specifying whether these are foreigners or Afghans.

"It is a temporary measure that allows the United Nations to continue providing assistance to the people of Afghanistan with minimal disruptions while at the same time reducing risks to our staff," he added, stressing that the international organization remains "committed" to its mission of supporting the people of Afghanistan.

At its headquarters in Kabul, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) employs about 300 foreigners and more than 700 Afghans.

Since Sunday, an air bridge has been established, with planes flying from all over the world to Kabul airport, which was overrun by crowds wanting to flee the country, while the Taliban imposed imposing control over its surroundings.

According to Washington and Berlin, the Taliban is facilitating the evacuation of Americans and foreigners from Kabul, but prevents Afghans wishing to leave their country from reaching Kabul airport, in violation of its commitments.