On Friday, The Taliban said it has made clear to Turkey that they object to a plan that would keep Turkish troops in Afghanistan to guard Kabul airport after the US and other foreign forces leave the country.
The US wants Turkish troops who are currently guarding the Kabul airport to stay after the withdrawal. On Thursday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said President Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed that Turkey would play a “lead role” in securing the airport.
Responding to Sullivan’s comments, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Voice of America that the Turkish plans to stay are “unacceptable.”
“In recent meetings and discussions with Turkish diplomats they had shared with us [Turkey’s] proposed continued military presence here, but we told them it was unacceptable for us. And they assured us that our stance will be conveyed to their leadership,” he said.
Mujahid said if Turkey or any other foreign forces stay in the country, the Taliban would “view them as invaders.” The Taliban had previously warned against Turkish troops staying, but Sullivan dismissed the warnings on Thursday and said they wouldn’t “deter” the US and Turkey’s plans.
US Central Command said last week that the Afghanistan withdrawal process is over 50 percent complete, although the command is not disclosing troop numbers. The US will likely try to leave some troops behind to protect the embassy.