US, Turkey Have Verbal Agreement on Taking Over Kabul Airport

Turkish troops will stay, US and NATO will pay for it

The US may be leaving Afghanistan soon, but they want somebody occupying the Kabul Airport. To that end, the US has made a verbal agreement with Turkey, and is close to making a final agreement.

The plan is that Turkey will stay in the airport, and the US and NATO will pay for it. Turkey promises not to go outside the airport to do anything, which they apparently hope will placate the Taliban.

Turkish troops have been guarding the airport since 2013, along with other NATO troops. The US seems convinced that protecting travel to and from the capital is going to require more military presence.

One of the last matters is if Turkey will escort diplomats from the airport. Turkey doesn’t want to, and is conditioning it on the US or someone else keeping some troops there to participate.

Turkey envisions 500 troops staying for this, comparatively small since the US is keeping 650 troops just for its own embassy security. Turkey has suggested they may send more, but aren’t committed yet.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of