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Nuland: Turkey Forces at Kabul Airport 'Vital' for US Maintaining Diplomatic Presence

Sputnik News

16:33 GMT 21.07.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Turkey's intention to keep troops at the Kabul airport is necessary for the United States and its allies to maintain diplomatic presence in Afghanistan after the US pullout, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said in a congressional testimony on Wednesday.

"Most recently, Turkey has expressed interest in maintaining a robust force at Kabul's airport as the US and NATO military missions in Afghanistan come to an end", Nuland told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "This contribution is vital to ensuring we and our allies and partners can maintain a strong diplomatic presence in Kabul after our troops withdraw. Following discussions between Presidents Biden and Erdogan at the NATO summit last month, technical teams on both sides are working together to finalize this critical arrangement".

On Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey intends to hold negotiations with the Taliban* movement about its possible military presence in Afghanistan. Erdogan expressed belief that the Taliban is behaving not in the way some Muslims behave toward others and urged the movement to abandon the occupation policy in relation to their own brothers.

Earlier, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said no final decision was made yet on Ankara's possible assistance to secure the Kabul airport.

The Taliban* has said that it opposes the deployment of Turkish troops and sees such a development as a violation of Afghanistan's sovereignty.

Meanwhile, the Afghan military spokesperson Gen. Ajmal Shinwari said the country's armed forces will be in charge of ensuring airport security.

*Taliban, a terrorist group banned in Russia and anumber of other countries

© Sputnik

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