Negotiations over Turkey staying in Afghanistan to guard the Kabul airport are still underway and no decisions have been made, the Turkish defense minister said on Friday. The US wants 500 Turkish troops to stay at the airport after President Biden’s September 11th withdrawal deadline so Western countries can keep their embassies open.
“There must be some political decisions at the United Nations and NATO, and an agreement must be reached with the Afghan government,” Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said. He added that the US and Turkey are continuing the negotiations and that a plan would be executed after it is approved by Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Earlier this week, Middle East Eye reported that the US and Turkey reached a verbal agreement on what securing the airport would look like. The report said the US and NATO would bankroll Turkey’s presence, and in an attempt to placate the Taliban, Turkey would vow not to conduct operations outside of the airport.
Since the plan means foreign troops will stay, the Taliban view it as a violation of the US-Taliban peace deal that paved the way for all foreign troops to withdraw. The US also wants to leave 650 troops to guard its embassy in Kabul and might leave a few hundred additional troops to help Turkey at the airport until at least September, while a deal is being negotiated.