Turkey has started to evacuate its soldiers from Afghanistan, said the Turkish Defense Ministry in a statement on Aug. 25.
“The Turkish Armed Forces are returning to their homeland with the pride of successfully fulfilling the task entrusted to them. The chaos that happened at Hamid Karzai Airport was intervened together with troops of other countries, and the security at the airport was provided and activities were kept running,” state-run Anadolu Agency cited the ministry as saying.
The ministry further said that a total of 1,129 Turkish civilians have been so far evacuated by military aircraft from Afghanistan.
Reuters reported earlier on Aug. 25 that the Taliban have asked Turkey for technical help to run Kabul airport after the departure of foreign forces but insist that Ankara’s military also withdraw fully by the end-August deadline.
“The Taliban have made a request for technical support in running Kabul airport,” Reuters quoted a senior Turkish official as saying.
“Ensuring the safety of workers without the Turkish Armed Forces is a risky job,” he reportedly said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Talks with the Taliban on the issue were ongoing and, in the meantime, preparations for a troop withdrawal had been completed, he said.
It was unclear whether Turkey would agree to give technical assistance.
Turkey has praised what it described as moderate statements by the Taliban since they captured Kabul, and has said it is open to engaging with them once a new government is formed.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said on Aug. 24 although the militant group “wants good relations with Turkey,” it does not want Turkish troops on Afghan soil.
Turkey had been responsible for securing Kabul airport under the NATO deployment and has been involved in evacuation efforts over the last two weeks.
The United States says it is coordinating with regional partners, as well as the Taliban, about the future operation of Kabul airport.