US delegation to visit Turkey for talks on Kabul airport
A technical delegation from the United States Department of Defense will visit Turkey on June 24 to discuss the activities for keeping the Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan operational.
Turkey proposed to secure and manage the airport in Kabul after the NATO troops end its mission as a Resolute Support Mission.
The issue was also discussed at the NATO Leaders’ Summit held in Brussels last week, as well as the tête-à-tête meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Joe Biden.
The technical delegation from the U.S. Defense Ministry and Turkish officials will discuss the issue as Ankara asked for political, logistical and financial support to conduct the mission.
As part of the NATO Resolute Support Mission, Turkey has been operating the Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan for six years.
Turkey, as a Muslim-majority nation and as a member of the Western alliance, has played a key role in Afghanistan since 2001, including sending troops in non-combat roles, and more recently, welcoming Taliban and government officials for talks on the country’s future.
In its first reaction, the Taliban expressed its opposition to any foreign troops remaining in Afghanistan after the U.S. and NATO forces leave the war-torn country.
Turkey has 500 soldiers in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission (RSM).
Biden announced that his country’s troops would start to withdraw from Afghanistan as of May 1. The withdrawal will be completed by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.