Turkey, Politics, Asia - Pacific

Turkey's presence at Kabul airport 'necessary' for diplomatic community

Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar says Turkey has taken 'bold, commendable initiative'

Nazli Yuzbasioglu and Beyza Binnur Donmez   | 20.06.2021
Turkey's presence at Kabul airport 'necessary' for diplomatic community

ANTALYA, Turkey

The Afghan foreign minister on Sunday welcomed Turkey's willingness to secure Kabul airport after the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, saying it is necessary for the presence of the diplomatic community in the country.

"First of all, we very much welcome Turkey's willingness to sustain the capabilities and the facilities as well as the high-level technological arrangements for the airport, which will be necessary for the continuous presence of diplomatic community, as well as the continued support of the international community to Afghanistan and our national security forces," Haneef Atmar said in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of Antalya Diplomacy Forum.

"Turkey has made a bold and very much commendable initiative," he said, adding that they will support the move "fully." "Turkey has an extremely important role both at a regional and global level."

On a trilateral meeting between Turkey, Afghanistan and Iran, he said they have agreed to cooperate in three "important" areas: Afghan peace process, security, counterterrorism, preventing organized crimes and illegal migration, and economic cooperation.

Atmar met his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif earlier in the day.

"We reiterated our commitment to the peace process and emphasized that we three work together, as well as with Pakistan," the minister said.

He said that they resolved to take practical measures for counterterrorism and security, and agreed on a transit and trade corridor linking Afghanistan to Turkey through Iran.

Underlining that there will be other members of NATO supporting the initiative (security of Kabul airport), including the US, he said Hungary and Norway, which is interested in running a field hospital, will also be a part of the process.

He said Pakistan's role in the broader peace and stabilization process in Afghanistan is "very important."

"I'm glad how Turkey, a brotherly country, is so keen in seeking support from the entire region for this peace and stabilization effort, but especially from Pakistan," said the top Afghan diplomat.

Taliban met none of its commitments

The minister claimed that the US, NATO, and Afghanistan have honored their commitments made in the Doha peace deal, but the Taliban have not.

"So, it's time for the world community, and especially our region, to call on the Taliban that they must honor their obligations," he said. "They must stop violence, and they must in good faith join the Afghan government in peace negotiations."

Under the February 2020 agreement, the US committed to withdraw all foreign forces from Afghanistan in return of a reduction in violence and intra-Afghan reconciliation through a dialogue process.

While President Joe Biden has announced a complete withdrawal from the war-torn country by Sept. 11, negotiations in Qatar have made little progress.

Regarding the surge in violence across Afghanistan since May, Atmar said: "International troops are leaving the country. So, now it is important for all of us to come together and put pressure on the Taliban to stop the violence and join the peace process."

Antalya Diplomacy Forum 'very successful'

Atmar congratulated the government of Turkey for holding the "very successful" Antalya Diplomacy Forum.

"I would like to particularly acknowledge, pay my respects to the efforts of my brother [Mevlut Cavusoglu]," he said, adding that the Turkish minister has done a "fantastic job to create this forum and bring together ministers, leaders of states and governments, and experts to discuss common challenges in this region and in the global community."

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