Afghans should secure Kabul airport, not Turkey - Taliban

Afghans themselves should be responsible for securing Kabul's main international airport instead of Turkey, a Taliban spokesperson told TRT Arabic on Wednesday, according to Hurriyet Daily News.

Zabinullah Muhajid, a group spokesperson, said that the Taliban was interested in securing peace in Afghanistan by seeking support from Muslim nations. To this end, Muhajid insisted the Taliban was interested in good relations with Turkey, but that did not mean it would tolerate its proposed security mission to Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport following the final U.S withdrawal in September. 

“Turkey is our brother, and we have so much in common based on faith,” Mujahid said in an interview with TRT Arabi. “We wish that Turkey would leave the past in the past and look toward today and the future. Then we would ask for dialogue.”

Muhajid appears to be addressing remarks from Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in recent days about seeking dialogue with the Taliban in order to keep Turkish forces safe as part of its security mission. Speaking in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, Erdogan said the Taliban should be able to comfortably negotiate with Ankara because it does not oppose their draconian Islamist ideology.

''The Taliban should be able to conduct talks with Turkey much easier because Turkey does not have any conflicting issues with their (the Taliban's) beliefs," Erdoğan said during a two-day visit to Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus on Tuesday. 

For its part, the Taliban has rejected the Turkey-U.S deal to maintain a Turkish military presence in Kabul. The militants pledged to "take a stand" if Turkey does not follow its international allies out the door in September, a threat some Turkish officials dismissed as posturing.
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