Taliban warn Turkey against extending troops in Afghanistan: statement

The decision is ill-advised, a violation of our sovereignty and against our national interests, says Taliban

AFP July 13, 2021

The Taliban on Tuesday warned Turkey against extending its troop presence in Afghanistan when US-led forces leave the country, insisting the decision was "reprehensible".

"The decision... is ill-advised, a violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity and against our national interests," the group said in a statement, days after Turkey promised to provide troops to protect Kabul airport when foreign forces leave next month.

"We consider the stay of foreign forces in our homeland by any country under whatever pretext as occupation," said the Taliban in the statement and added that "invaders" will be dealt with according to the Fatwa (decree) under which they have fought for the last two decades. 

The statement urged the Turkish people and politicians to "reverse their decision" as it would detrimental to both countries. 

Earlier, the Taliban said Turkey should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan under the 2020 deal for the pullout of US forces, effectively rejecting Ankara's proposal to guard and run Kabul's airport after US-led NATO forces depart.

Read: 'Turkey should pull troops from Afghanistan under 2020 accord'

The development raised serious questions for the United States, other countries and international organisations with missions in Kabul about how to securely evacuate their personnel from landlocked Afghanistan should fighting threaten the capital.

It also appeared to dash Ankara's hopes of using the securing of Kabul airport to help improve ties with Washington - strained by Turkey's purchase of Russian defense systems - in talks set for Monday between President Joe Biden and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said Turkey would be the "only reliable" country left to stabilise Afghanistan after the US pulls out its troops, indicating Washington could rely on its NATO ally.

Erdogan had also said he would discuss the issue in his first face-to-face meeting with US President Joe Biden on the margins of a NATO summit in Brussels on Monday, after strained relations between their two countries.

"America is preparing to leave Afghanistan soon and from the moment they leave, the only reliable country to maintain the process over there is obviously Turkey," Erdogan had told reporters





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