Asia - Pacific

Turkey’s long involvement in NATO mission in Afghanistan

With 600 soldiers, Turkey ranks seventh among countries in NATO-led Resolute Support Mission

Merve Aydogan  | 19.06.2021 - Update : 19.06.2021
Turkey’s long involvement in NATO mission in Afghanistan


After becoming a member in 1952, Turkey has been one of the most intensively contributing cogwheels for NATO.

It has been designated a “contributor” by the alliance because of regarding missions in Afghanistan, as it supports the war-torn country struggling for peace and stability for some time.

"We continue to contribute to the security of our brothers and sisters with our soldiers operating within the NATO mission providing training and equipment support to Afghan security forces," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in March.

Turkey's involvement in NATO missions in Afghanistan includes:

Dec. 20, 2001 -- NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) established to support and ensure the security of the Afghan Interim Administration.

June 20, 2002 - Feb. 10, 2003 -- Turkey took control of the second term of command of ISAF from the UK with 1,300-personnel. ISAF II was led by Turkish Maj. Gen. Hilmi Akin Zorlu.

February - August 2005 -- Turkey assumed leadership of ISAF-VII while operating the Kabul International Airport which was under NATO command and control structure. During its leadership, Turkey deployed 1,430 military personnel and three utility helicopters to Afghanistan. According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, nearly 1,800 Turkish personnel served in ISAF.

November 2006 -- Turkey opened the Turkish Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Wardak, near Kabul, to support efforts toward security and stability.

Nov. 1, 2009 – Dec. 31, 2014 -- Turkey undertook the command of Kabul Regional Command Capital (RCC) on a rotational basis with France and Italy. During its leadership, it deployed 1,200 personnel to the region.

Feb. 2, 2010 -- "Gazi" Military Training Center established with contributions of the Turkish Armed Forces, Afghan National Army (ANA), Kabul Military Command and ISAF to train non-commissioned officers and soldiers.

Jan. 31, 2014 -- NATO-led ISAF ended.

Jan. 1, 2015 -- Resolute Support Mission (RSM), a non-combat mission, began.

January 2019 -- Legislation put into effect allowing the Turkish government to send troops to Afghanistan to support the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission. The legislation, first passed in 2015, gave the government authority to permit foreign army personnel to be transported to and from Afghanistan through Turkey.

Dec. 16, 2020 -- Turkish parliament approved extending the deployment of Turkish troops in Afghanistan for 18 months as part of NATO's support mission.

March 30, 2021 - Turkish Brig. Gen. Selcuk Yurtsizoglu assumed command of the NATO-led Train, Advise, Assist Command-Capital in Kabul.

Turkey, with 600 soldiers, is ranked seventh among countries stationed as part of NATO’s RSM. According to the Turkish National Defense Ministry, the country takes part in the noncombat mission via “operational and force protection services at the Hamid Karzai Afghanistan International Airport (HKIA),” “provision of personnel support to the Train, Assist and Advise Command- (North/TAAC-N),” and “provision of personnel support to the RSM Headquarters.”

Turkish aid agency completes more than 1,000 projects in Afghanistan

Separately, Turkey, through its Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), has completed more than 1,000 projects -- especially on developing education, health, agriculture and infrastructure. During 2005 - 2014 period, 806 projects and activities were completed in Afghanistan.

20 transportation projects, including a 23-kilometer (14-mile) civic highway and four bridges were also completed by the Turkish aid agency. A total of 135 water and sanitation projects along with 34 agriculture, livestock and forestry projects were completed in the same period.

As part of its Ramadan campaign in 2021, TIKA distributed food to 3,300 families across Afghanistan via its Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif and Herat offices.

About 4,400 people benefited from the iftar tables that were set up. Various gifts and stationery were given to orphans.

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