Jens Stoltenberg thanks Turkey, US, UK for their ‘vital’ role in ensuring security of Kabul airport.
ANKARA (AA) – NATO allies are ready to host Afghans in their countries either “temporarily or as a permanent resettlement,” the NATO secretary-general said on Friday.
Speaking at a news conference following an extraordinary virtual meeting on Afghanistan with ministers of NATO member countries, Jens Stoltenberg said many allies have made offers to host Afghans in their countries.
“So, if we get them out, there are many NATO allies to receive either temporarily or as a permanent resettlement in NATO countries. Many allies have also sent out planes to the region, fly in and take out people from the airport.
“The big challenge is to get people on those planes. The limiting factor is not the lack of planes, it is the ability to get people into the airport process and on the planes. This was an issue discussed in the meeting today … The paradox is that we have more planes than we have people,” Stoltenberg said.
He said that Turkey has been responsible for the Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport for many years and still plays a key role.
“I would especially like to thank Turkey, the US and the UK for their vital role in ensuring the security of the Kabul airport,” he said.
Stoltenberg said that Pakistan has a special responsibility to ensure that Afghanistan fulfills its international obligations and does not become “a home for international terrorism” once again.
Stoltenberg added that they expect the Taliban to live up to other commitments, including respect for human rights and the rights of women.
“Some NATO allies have not recognized the new government partly because there is no new government to recognize, but some allies have operational tactical contact with the Taliban to ensure the safe passage to manage the situation outside the airport … We have to distinguish between this kind of tactical operational contact with Taliban, which I think is needed and important, and diplomatic recognition that is two different things,” he added.
The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan after taking Kabul on Aug. 15, forcing the president and other top officials to leave the country.
The unexpected takeover has triggered a rush to flee Afghanistan, including by civilians who assisted foreign soldiers or groups and now fear Taliban retribution.