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Taliban and Turkey Discuss Recognition, Help To Run Kabul Airport

Aug. 30, 2021 (EIRNS)—NATO member Turkey is nearing a deal to recognize Afghanistan’s Taliban government and operate the Kabul airport in partnership with Qatar, and thus widen up the possibility for the Taliban to attract foreign aid and investment, AFP reported on Aug. 29. The agreement is awaiting approval and finalization by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, when the American exit is completed, AFP reported Aug. 28, citing two unnamed sources.

One sticking point in the Turkish government talks with the Taliban has been the issue of who will provide airport security. “How can we give the security to you (the Taliban)?” Erdogan asked reporters Aug. 28 “How could Turkey explain it if the Taliban took over security responsibility and another bloodbath occurred?”

In what Middle East Eye called an “exclusive” on Aug. 28, they reported that the potential partners have concluded a draft deal, according to “two sources familiar with the deal.” Turkey and Qatar will jointly operate the Kabul International Airport, and Turkey will provide security through a private firm, whose staff will consist of former Turkish soldiers and police; and that additional members of the Turkish special forces, operating in plainclothes to secure Turkish technical staff, will not leave the airport perimeter.

Multiple Taliban spokespeople refused to respond to Middle East Eye inquiries on the matter. Turkey intends to keep its embassy in Kabul open and has not evacuated its Ambassador or its diplomatic staff. Turkish President Erdogan still needs to approve the deal, and is expected to consult with his NATO allies.

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