Defense Minister Akar says situation to become clear in coming days as Ankara will not put its soldiers in harm’s way
ISLAMABAD (AA) – Turkey’s main purpose in continuing to provide security at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, is to prevent the war-torn country from becoming isolated, the country’s defense minister said on Thursday.
Speaking at the Turkish Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, Hulusi Akar said: “There are statements that if the airport in Kabul is closed, all diplomatic missions in the country will be withdrawn. We all know that such a thing is not desirable for our Afghan brothers. Thus, we continue to share our views that it would be beneficial to keep the airport open.”
The situation will become clear in the coming days, and Turkey will not put its soldiers in danger in any way, he added.
Ankara has been in charge of the military and logistical operations at Kabul airport for the past six years as part of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission.
Turkey, whose forces in Afghanistan have always been noncombatants, has reportedly offered to guard the airport amid concerns about security along major transportation routes and at the airport, which is Kabul’s main gateway.
Akar said during his visit to Pakistan he met Pakistani President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Defense Minister Pervez Khattak, Defense and Production Minister Zobaida Jalal, and army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa.
He said they discussed many issues, especially bilateral relations, the defense industry, military training, and the fight against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup attempt.