Turkey to maintain diplomatic presence in Taliban-run Kabul

Turkey to maintain diplomatic presence in Taliban-run Kabul: Erdogan
2 min read
30 August, 2021
Turkey President Erdogan vowed to maintain a Turkish diplomatic presence in Kabul despite the deteriorating security situation.
Turkey has helped with the evacuations at Kabul Airport [Getty]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Sunday to maintain a Turkish diplomatic presence in Afghanistan despite the Taliban's takeover of the country and a rush of diplomats out of Kabul.

Erdogan said that Turkish diplomats would remain stationed in Kabul, despite the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, with Islamic State group militants targeting the capital's airport with rockets and suicide bombers over the past week.

He told Turkish media during a flight back from Montenegro that Turkish diplomatic staff have returned to the Kabul embassy and Ankara was determined to continue its presence in the country.

"They returned to our embassy building in the city centre the other day and they are continuing their activities from here," Erdogan said, according to broadcaster NTV.

"Our plan now is to maintain our diplomatic presence in this way. We are continuously updating our plans according to developments regarding the security situation."

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While Erdogan has welcomed the Taliban's recent outreach to the world with "cautious optimism" - following its swift takeover of Afghanistan this month - he also said the movement would be judged by their actions, not their words.

The Taliban have been accused of disappearing Afghans who worked with US-led coalition forces and the Afghan government, while there are huge concerns over women's rights.

But the radical Islamist movement is also playing a crucial role in maintaining security in Kabul as NATO forces rush to evacuate citizens, soldiers, and Afghan allies out of the country.

Their battled-hardened militants are also seen as the main bulwark against the Islamic State group, who killed more than 100 people in suicide bomb attacks at Kabul Airport on Thursday, with rockets fired at US-led forces stationed there on Sunday.

Erdogan poured cold water over reports that Turkey planned to run Kabul Airport in collaboration with Taliban security forces after NATO forces depart.

"How can we give the security to you? How would we explain it to the world if you took over security and there is another bloodbath there? This is not an easy job," he was quoted as saying.

The Taliban captured Kabul on 15 August as US President Joe Biden ordered American troops in the country, leading to the collapse of the Afghan government.