Taliban to hold talks with Turkey

Afghanistan’s interim government will hold high-level talks with Turkish officials in Ankara, Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi said.

A Taliban delegation led by Foreign Minister Maulvi Amir Khan Mottaki left for Ankara on Thursday at the invitation of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Balkhi announced via his official Twitter account.

The talks will focus on areas of mutual interests including trade, humanitarian aid, migration, and air travel, Balkhi said.

Turkey has offered to take charge of security at Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, following the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces in August. Keeping the Kabul airport operational is seen as crucial to foreign embassies and aid organisations continuing their work in the war-torn country.   

The Taliban has repeatedly rejected Ankara’s offer, saying it will handle all security matters. However, the group has engaged in talks with Turkey and Qatar on the issue, and both countries are currently involved in helping to restore services at the airport.

Turkey has yet to formally recognise the new Taliban administration. Speaking to CBS in New York last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said his country hadn’t concluded any deals with the group.

Erdoğan’s stance was reiterated by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who said recognition would depend on developments under Taliban rule.

“One should not be hasty about it,” Çavuşoğlu said.

For the last two decades, Turkey maintained a non-combat military role as part of a NATO mission in Afghanistan with around 500 troops in the country. It pulled them out in late August.

 

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