Ankara, Washington agree on ‘scope’ of Kabul airport security, says Erdoğan

Ankara and Washington have agreed on the “scope” of how to secure Kabul airport under the control of Turkish forces following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday.

Turkey has offered to take responsibility for securing Kabul International Airport following the U.S. departure from Afghanistan in September. U.S. President Joe Biden discussed the issue with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at their meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit last month. 

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan afterwards said an agreement had been reached without providing further details.

“During discussions with the United States and Nato, we decided on what would be the scope of the mission, what we would accept and not accept,” Hürriyet newspaper cited Erdoğan as saying on Friday.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi discussed the issue with the U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin earlier this week, according Turkish media reports.

Turkey is seeking financial, political and logistical backing from its NATO allies to run security at the Hamid Karzai airport, key to the continuing operation of diplomatic missions in Afghanistan after the withdrawal.

Turkey has over 500 soldiers in Afghanistan, where they have played an important role in securing the airport. Ankara has said it has no plans to commit additional troops.

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