Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said that the US and Turkey have agreed on the “scope” of the plan to keep Turkish troops at the international airport in Kabul after the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“During discussions with America and NATO, we decided on what would be the scope of the mission, what we would accept and not accept,” Erdogan said.
The US wants Turkish troops to guard the airport so it can keep its embassy open in Kabul. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin discussed the plan with his Turkish counterpart on Wednesday.
Details of the airport operation are not yet clear. Last month, sources told Middle East Eye that the US and Turkey had reached an agreement on a preliminary plan. Under the plan, the US and NATO would bankroll the Turkish presence, and in an effort to placate the Taliban, Turkey would vow not to conduct operations outside of the airport.
The Taliban rejects the idea of a continued Turkish presence since the US-Taliban peace deal signed last year called for all foreign troops to withdraw from Afghanistan.
President Biden said on Thursday that the withdrawal from Afghanistan will be completed by August 31st, but the US plans to keep troops to guard the embassy and help Turkey secure the airport.