Turkey taken all measures for security of Turkish troops in Afghanistan, lives of soldiers will not be put in danger.
ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkey has launched the evacuation of its citizens from Afghanistan, the Turkish defense minister said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a ceremony with his Angolan counterpart, Hulusi Akar said the evacuation of some Turkish citizens has already started through the use of Turkey’s Air Force Command aircraft.
Meeting with Joao Ernesto Dos Santos, Akar signed the Military Framework Agreement between Angola and Turkey.
“We have expressed our views and intentions regarding the international airport in Kabul from the very beginning. Our purpose here is known to everyone. In line with this purpose, we maintain the necessary coordination with NATO, the US, and other countries, in and outside the region,” Akar noted.
The minister said the aim is to ensure that the Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport operates without any interruption and serves all Afghanistan.
The activities of the airport were suspended for a while due to the turmoil the previous day, Akar said, but added that the planes had started to land and take off safely at the airport.
“62 flights were conducted in the last two days. Meanwhile, various countries continue their efforts to evacuate their own citizens from Afghanistan. These evacuations will continue. There is no problem in using the airport, required measures have been taken. We strive to safely keep the airport open and to help serve all Afghanistan,” he also noted.
‘Lives of Turkish troops will not be put in danger’
Referring to the situation of the Turkish soldiers on duty at the airport, Akar said there has been no attack, harassment, or intervention at the airport.
“The airport seems safe at the moment, but the situation may change at any moment, and we are prepared for it. The soldiers have successfully carried out the assigned tasks and continue to do so. The most important thing for us is the security of our soldiers. We have taken every measure for the security of the troops,” he added.
Akar noted that it was out of the question to endanger the lives of the Turkish soldiers in any way.
Recent turmoil in Afghanistan
This spring the war between the Taliban and Afghan forces intensified as foreign troops announced their withdrawal from the country by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that led to the US invasion.
In recent weeks the Taliban made dramatic military advances and on Sunday took control of the capital as Afghan government forces fled or surrendered. Former President Ashraf Ghani also left the country.
With the collapse of the Afghan government, attention is turning to ensuring the safety of civilians and evacuees and an orderly transfer of power.
The Taliban has declared the war in Afghanistan is over and said efforts to form an inclusive government are underway.