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Turkey seeks US support for keeping troops in Afghanistan

At the end of a series of meetings with NATO leaders on the sidelines of the alliance summit, Erdogan told reporters that Turkey was seeking the involvement of Pakistan and Hungary in a new mission in Afghanistan following the departure of the US-led NATO forces.

Turkey is reported to have offered guarding the airport as questions remain on how security will be assured along major transport routes and at the airport — the main gateway to Kabul.

“If they don’t want us to leave Afghanistan, if they want (Turkish) support there, then the diplomatic, logistic and financial support that the United States will give us will be of great importance,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by PBS.

A majority Muslim nation with close historic ties to Afghanistan, Turkey has currently around 500 soldiers in the war-torn country.

Erdogan also said he held a constructive meeting with US President Joe Biden and invited him to visit Turkey. The two leaders held their first face-to-face meeting as heads of state at a difficult time in their relations.

“There is a strong will for the start of a new era in all areas, based on mutual respect and interest,” Erdogan said. “There is no problem in Turkey-US relations that cannot be solved.”

Biden told reporters he was “confident we’ll make real progress with Turkey.”

On Afghanistan, Biden said: “There was a strong consensus in the room among the leaders … on Afghanistan. Our troops are coming home, but we agreed that our diplomatic, economic, humanitarian commitment with the Afghan people … will endure”