Taliban should end occupation in Afghanistan, says Erdogan
Ankara [Turkey], July 20 (ANI): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the Taliban should “end the occupation” in Afghanistan amid rising violence in the war-torn country.
“The Taliban should end their brothers’ occupation of land,” Erdogan said Monday at a press conference on the occasion of his departure for Northern Cyprus.
Erdogan also said Turkey plans to hold talks with the Taliban over the Kabul airport, the Daily Sabah reported.
Turkey, whose forces in Afghanistan have always been made up of non-combat troops, has offered to keep the airport as questions remain about how security will be provided along major transport routes and at the airport, which is the main gateway to the capital Kabul.
Airport security is critical to the functioning of diplomatic missions outside of Afghanistan as Western forces withdraw.
The airport is strategically located near the Afghan presidential palace and foreign diplomatic missions in Kabul and is the only place from which to evacuate diplomats in an emergency.
The Taliban have warned Turkey against possible plans to keep troops in Afghanistan to monitor and guard Kabul’s main airport after the foreign troops withdrew, calling the strategy “reprehensible”.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan condemns this reprehensible decision,” the terrorist group said in a statement.
“If the Turkish officials do not review their decision and continue the occupation of our country, the Islamic Emirate (…) will take a stand against them,” he added.
Afghanistan has seen an upsurge in violence in recent weeks. The Taliban have stepped up their offensive since foreign forces began withdrawing from the country in May.
United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces will complete the military withdrawal until the end of August.
The Taliban are taking control of more and more territory in Afghanistan, while the Afghan forces have launched a counteroffensive to outsmart the terrorists. (ANI)