Çavuşoğlu, Blinken discuss latest developments in Afghanistan
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan in a phone call, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said early on Aug. 25.
Çavuşoğlu and Blinken also discussed the "continuing cooperation" in Afghanistan and efforts "to ensure the safe and orderly evacuation of our citizens, allies and partners," U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency on Aug. 25, Mohammad Naeem, spokesman for the Taliban's political office, said the Afghan movement has been targeted by the media for the past two decades and has been denied the right to defend itself.
"Turkey is an important country in the world and the Turkish people are brotherly Muslim people and we maintain historic, social, and cultural relationship [with Turkey],” Naeem said.
The Taliban spokesman said his group is in contact with the Turkish state. "We want to establish good relations with Turkey and develop this relationship in the future,” he added.
Naeem said that the Afghan people have been ravaged by war for the past four decades.
"The Afghan people need assistance and we call on all countries, particularly Turkey, to help our people and our country,” he added.
The spokesman added that Turkey could "play an important and constructive role in Afghanistan in terms of rebuilding the war-torn country."
Minister Çavuşoğlu said on Aug. 24 that Turkey remains in dialogue with all relevant parties and is coordinating with other allies for the evacuation of thousands of civilians from Afghanistan.
"Our wish is that peace and stability in Afghanistan will be permanently established within the framework of democracy and human rights,” he said.
"If steps are to be taken in this direction, we, as Turkey, will give our best support. I would like to say that we are in contact with all parties, not just with a particular group,” he added.
Taliban seized control of Afghanistan after taking Kabul on Aug. 15, with the president and other top officials leaving the country. The fast shift to Taliban rule triggered a rush to flee Afghanistan, with the future in the war-torn country unclear.
The United States clashed with some of its closest allies over President Joe Biden's insistence on sticking to an Aug. 31 Afghanistan withdrawal date that will shut down a frantic international evacuation effort from Taliban rule.
Biden insisted after virtual talks with leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized democracies on Aug. 24 that the U.S. and its closest allies would "stand shoulder to shoulder" in future action over Afghanistan and the Taliban, despite disappointing them in their urgent pleas now to allow time for more airlifts.
On Aug. 23, CIA chief William Burns met with Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul in talks in which the Taliban underscored they would not accept a U.S. military presence at the airport beyond Aug. 31.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Aug. 24 said his group would accept "no extensions" to the deadline.