Turkey takes necessary measures for safety of troops in Kabul: Minister
Turkey has taken all necessary measures for the safety of the Turkish troops based in the Kabul international airport, the defense minister has said, informing that they are ready to implement contingency plans if the conditions in the field change in Afghanistan.
“There has been no offensive or intervention against the airport so far. The airport seems to be safe but the situation can change at any time. We are prepared against [any deterioration],” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told the Anadolu Agency in Istanbul on Aug. 18.
The most important thing for Turkey is the security of its troops and all measures have been taken to this end, he suggested, saying, “We are closely following the developments. We will not throw our troops in danger by any means. The situation seems calm now and the evacuations continue.”
Turkey has contingency plans and is ready to implement them should the conditions change in Kabul, the minister stressed.
Turkey has around 600 troops deployed at the airport to keep it open and operational to avoid the isolation of Afghanistan. Turkey is continuing talks with the United States and other NATO countries about the management of the airport, Akar said, reiterating Turkey’s will to continue its mission.
“Our objective is that Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport, which we believe to be important and necessary for all Afghanistan, operates without any interruption and to serve all Afghanistan,” he stated.
Turkey has been doing this job for the past six years, he recalled, adding, “When you consider its humanitarian dimension, we know that this mission fills an important gap. For this reason, we have put forward our demands in this regard from the very beginning. We expressed that we are evaluating to continue this work if the necessary conditions are met.”