Turkey vows to sustain Afghan peace efforts despite bomb attack
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
AA PhotoTurkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has pledged that Turkey will continue its efforts to contribute to peace and stability in Afghanistan, despite an early morning bomb attack in Kabul on Feb. 26 that killed one Turkish soldier.
“Turkey will always stand with determination against such attacks and keep on doing its best for Afghanistan’s stability and tranquility,” Davutoğlu told a meeting of governors at Ankara’s House of Provinces.
The bomb attack hit a special team protecting Turkish Ambassador Ismail Aramaz, NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in the country, killing two people, including a Turkish soldier, and wounding another.
Davutoğlu condemned the “heinous attack regardless of the motive behind it,” adding that the Turkish government wants the perpetrators to be punished.
He described terrorism as a “crime against humanity” that must be harshly condemned, and said Turkey and Afghanistan are “old friends.”
“Turkey’s role as the ‘protector of peace’ in Afghanistan will always continue,” the prime minister added.
Turkey in Afghanistan for country’s stability: FM
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has also commented on the issue, stressing that Turkey has never sent combat forces in Afghanistan.
“Turkey is in Afghanistan for the country’s stability. We have never sent combatant forces to Afghanistan, on the contrary, they were non-combatants,” Çavuşoğlu said.
He emphasized that Turkish missions in Afghanistan aimed for the country’s development and the delivery of humanitarian aid “as quickly as possible” to the Afghan people.
“Turkey will continue to exist in Afghanistan and will continue to help the Afghan people. Turkey has undertaken the management of Kabul International Airport and we will continue to do that,” Çavuşoğlu said.
He also mentioned that there had never been direct attacks on Turkish soldiers in Afghanistan before and an investigation into the issue is ongoing.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has released a separate statement about the incident, saying it expects the perpetrators to be caught and put on trial as soon as possible.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bomb attack but said the Turkish convoy was not the intended target.
“The target was a U.S. military convoy,” Zabihullah Mujahid, the purported spokesman of the militant group, said on his Twitter account.
The Taliban intensified their attacks, especially in Kabul, soon after the new government under President Ashraf Ghani signed the Bilateral Security Agreement with the U.S. and the Status of Force Agreement with NATO last year.
The NATO-led 13-year Afghanistan war concluded last year by shifting the security responsibilities to the nascent Afghan security forces across the country.