ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said he would discuss with his U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin on Wednesday a plan for Turkey to operate and guard Kabul’s Hamid Karzai airport after the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan, adding there was no final decision yet.
Ankara has offered to run and guard the airport after NATO’s withdrawal, and has been in talks with allies, namely the United States, on financial, political and logistical support. Security of the airport is key for the operations of diplomatic missions out of Afghanistan after the withdrawal.
Speaking to a group of reporters after a cabinet meeting on Monday, Akar said talks on the details of the mission were still underway, and that the airport must be operational so the Afghan government is not isolated from the world following the pullout.
“From making certain decisions at the United Nations, NATO, to reaching an agreement with the Afghan government, as well as political, financial, and logistical support, we are in contact with various countries. Meanwhile, our talks with the Americans also continue,” Akar said. “No final decision has been made yet, but our talks continue.”
(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Daren Butler)