By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: NATO is talking with different allies, including Turkey, on maintaining support to the international airport in Kabul after the US and coalition forces withdraw from the country, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Friday.
This development comes as a Taliban spokesman, quoted by Reuters, said Thursday that Turkey should pull its troops from Afghanistan under the Doha agreement, referring to Ankara’s proposal to guard and run Kabul’s airport after the withdrawal of US and coalition forces from the country.
But Stoltenberg said that NATO allies are working on how to maintain important infrastructure, such as an international airport in Kabul. “Partly this is something NATO will support, and also we’re looking into how NATO Allies can be part of that effort.
Turkey is today a key ally when it comes to the running of the airport,” he said.
“There is a dialogue now going on between different Allies, including Turkey, on exactly how we can try to continue to provide support for the airport and make sure the airport continues to operate at international standards.”
He said that this is important not only for NATO, but an airport and all the critical infrastructure is important for the whole international community, for the diplomatic presence of all countries, and for development aid and different aid organizations. He said that he expects that the issue will be addressed at the Summit on Monday.
Stoltenberg reiterated that NATO’s military presence is ending, but its support for the Afghan forces and people will continue.
“We are very clear-eyed about the challenges, the difficulties we all face in Afghanistan. And we are also clear-eyed about the risks the decision to end our military mission entails,” he added. He also mentioned that NATO will continue funding for Afghan Security Forces and that all allies are committed to continuing to do so.
US President Joe Biden announced in April that he will withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11. However, US officials have predicted that the withdrawal will be completed in July. US Central Command last week said that the withdrawal has been completed by more than 50%.