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Afghanistan: Turkish foreign minister says Taliban statements 'positive'

Cavusoglu says Ankara is in talks with the Taliban alongside other partners and looking forward to consulting new transitional government
French and Afghan nationals line up to board a French military transport plane at Kabul airport on 17 August 2021 (AFP)
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Ankara

Turkey on Tuesday welcomed Taliban statements as “positive” after the group promised to protect foreign embassies and issued a general amnesty for state employees.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara was in dialogue with all Afghan parties, including the Taliban.

“The country needs to calm down first," he said. "We view the Taliban's messages positively, we would like to see them in action.”

Cavusoglu said Turkey will manage and secure the military part of Kabul International Airport.

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“After the security is established in the airport in one or two days we will help to evacuate not only our citizens but citizens of other countries as well,” he said.

He also underlined that Turkey had never sent fighting troops to Afghanistan and only presided over the management and the security of the airport, the fate of which still needs to be agreed upon with the new government during the transitional period.

The Pentagon announced last night that Turkey, the US, and other partner countries would begin work to clear the airport runway after some 15,000 Afghans - who feared the Taliban - had blocked the tarmac.

A Western official told Reuters on Tuesday morning that the airport was running regular evacuations.

Two Turkish officials told Middle East Eye on Monday that Turkey was exploring ways to keep its soldiers stationed at Kabul airport even after the Taliban had seized control of Afghanistan.

“Currently, there is no deal for us to stay in Kabul,” one official told MEE. “However, we will try to negotiate with the Taliban to see if they would like us to maintain our presence, which would be natural for us, considering the deep ties."