President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed his doubts on Sunday over a plan in which Turkey operates Kabul airport and the Taliban provides security, adding that Ankara would be in a tough position if another attack occurs.
The Guardian reports that Turkey had long intended to help maintain and run the Afghan capital’s airport, but happened to drop the notion when it began on Wednesday to evacuate its nearly 500 non-combat troops from Afghanistan.
Nexus News learned that on Friday, Erdogan said Turkey had held its first talks with the Taliban in Kabul, adding that Ankara was still evaluating the Islamist group’s offer for Turkey to run the airport’s logistics.
In statements published by the official Anadolu news agency and other media outlets, Erdogan said “What does the Taliban say with regard to the airport issue? They say ‘give us the security but you operate it’,”
“How come we hand you over the security?” Erdogan added.
“Let’s say you took over the security but how would we explain to the world if another bloodbath takes place there? It’s not an easy job.”
Nexus News recall that a suicide attack on Thursday outside Kabul airport killed more than 100 people, including 13 US service personnel, delaying the airlift ahead of US President Joe Biden’s deadline for evacuations to end by Tuesday.
New terror attack threats have shaken evacuation efforts overseen by US forces and Biden has alerted another attack on the frantic airlift was “highly likely.”
Turkey has finalized its evacuation operation while moving its embassy from the airport back to its original compound, Erdogan said.
“We are planning right now to maintain our diplomatic presence,” he said but added plans were constantly being updated depending on the security situation.
“We keep ready all our necessary alternative plans. Our priority is the safety of our personnel.”