By: The Kabul Times
President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed when they met in Brussels this week that Turkey would take a lead role in securing the Kabul airport as the United States withdraws troops from Afghanistan, a US official said.
But the two leaders were not able to resolve a longstanding dispute that has strained ties between Washington and Ankara about Turkey’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile system, the official said.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Thursday that Biden and Erdogan, in their meeting on June 14 at the NATO summit had discussed the Afghanistan airport security issue.
Erdogan had asked for US support to help secure the airport and Biden committed to providing that support, Sullivan said, the Reuters news agency reported.
“The clear commitment from the leaders was established that Turkey would play a lead role in securing Hamid Karzai International Airport and we are now working through how to execute to get to that,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan’s remarks offer the first details from the US side of the meeting between Biden and Erdogan who told the US president Ankara will not change its stance on the Russian S-400 missile system.
Ankara’s purchase of Russian anti-aircraft weaponry has interfered with US plans to sell Turkey the advanced F-35 combat fighter jet. Washington has removed Ankara from the F-35 fighter jet programme and imposed sanctions.