By Kubra Chohan
Turkish Armed Forces will continue to support Afghanistan as part of NATO’s mandate in the country, Military chief Gen. Hulusi Akar said Wednesday.
Akar made the remarks during a national day reception at the Afghan Embassy in Ankara.
He said the Turkish Armed Forces would continue its support by maintaining their presence at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul and by providing trainers in Afghanistan.
“Both, on the ground of being a NATO member and a coalition power, Turkey will be conducting military education and training programs as well as cooperate for developing our relations,” Akar said.
“We are doing our best to give all our help, support and cooperation under the current circumstances in Afghanistan.”
On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced a new strategy for Afghanistan, outlining that the U.S. would not commit to any timetable to end its military presence in Afghanistan where it has been bogged down for the better part of two decades.
NATO chief had welcomed Trump’s policy, saying NATO allies and partners have already committed to increasing our presence in Afghanistan.
NATO currently has over 12,000 troops in the country. In recent weeks, more than 15 nations have pledged additional contributions to our Resolute Support Mission.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, who also spoke at the event, said Turkey continues to carry out huge efforts to end the current negative situation in Afghanistan.
Turkey has given one of the biggest amounts to provide international assistance to the country, Soylu said.
“Since 2004, Turkey has been conducting a corporate development program of $1 million in more than 850 projects in Afghanistan,” he said.
“Turkish assistance and support concentrates on health and education capacity. Since 1992, over 2,837 Afghan students have benefited from our scholarships.”
Trade volume stood at $6 billion while 627 projects were completed between 2003 and 2016, he added.
He also said that 2,996 Afghan police and 4,300 military members received training in Turkey during his term at the Interior Ministry.
Afghan Ambassador to Ankara Amanullah Jayhoon appreciated Turkey’s efforts for his country.