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Turkey’s troops should leave Afghanistan under 2020 deal: Taliban

Taliban spokesman tells Reuters Turkey should withdraw troops as a part of cope with the US for pullout of international forces.

Turkey should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan under the 2020 deal for the pullout of international forces, a Taliban spokesman has mentioned, successfully rejecting Ankara’s proposal to protect and run Kabul’s airport after the United States-led NATO forces depart.

The growth raises critical questions for the US, different international locations and worldwide organisations with missions in Kabul about easy methods to securely evacuate their personnel from landlocked Afghanistan, should preventing threaten the capital, Reuters news company reported on Thursday.

It additionally appeared to sprint Ankara’s hopes of utilizing the securing of Kabul airport to assist enhance ties with Washington – strained by Turkey’s buy of Russian defence methods – in talks set for Monday between President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Asked in a textual content message whether or not the Taliban rejected Turkey’s proposal to maintain forces in Kabul to protect and run the worldwide airport after different international troops leave, the Taliban spokesman in Doha responded that they should go as nicely.

“Turkey was part of NATO forces in the past 20 years, so as such, they should withdraw from Afghanistan on the basis of the agreement we signed with US on 29th Feb 2020,” Suhail Shaheen instructed Reuters.

“Otherwise, Turkey is a great Islamic country. Afghanistan has had historical relations with it. We hope to have close and good relations with them as a new Islamic government is established in the country in future,” he added.

The State Department and the Turkish international ministry didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark, Reuters mentioned.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke on Thursday with Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar to “discuss bilateral cooperation and regional issues,” the Pentagon mentioned in an announcement, which didn’t particularly point out Afghanistan.

Under the February 2020 deal between the Taliban and the US signed by former President Donald Trump’s administration, all US forces have been to be out of Afghanistan by May 1.

But Biden mentioned in April that the pullout can be accomplished by the twentieth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 assaults on the US that prompted the US-led invasion and elimination of the Taliban authorities that sheltered the al-Qaeda group.

Turkish officers say they made the Kabul airport proposal at a NATO assembly in May when the US and its companions agreed to a plan to withdraw their forces by September 11 after 20 years of backing the Afghan authorities in a warfare towards the Taliban.

With violence raging, many US legislators and present and former officers concern the departure of the international forces and stalled peace talks are pushing Afghanistan into an all-out civil warfare that would return the Taliban to energy.

The Pentagon says the US withdrawal is greater than 50 p.c full. Turkey, with greater than 500 troopers nonetheless in Afghanistan coaching safety forces, now has the most important international navy contingent there.

Australia closed its embassy final month due to safety issues. The Taliban’s efficient rejection of the Turkish plan to safe the airport may immediate different international locations to shutter their missions.

The growth additionally poses a quandary for the Biden administration, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken promising as not too long ago as this week at a Congressional listening to to take care of a US diplomatic presence in Kabul.

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