Afghanistan: Turkey begins to withdraw its troops | The World | D.W.

Turkey had expressed its desire to remain in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the United States and NATO, even saying that it would control Kabul airport once their partners left. But faced with the new scenario, they chose to leave this country, just like their allies. This is how this Wednesday (25.08.2021) began the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Afghanistan, where they had participated for 19 years in the NATO mission led by the United States, announced the Turkish Ministry of Security. Defense in a press release.

“After several contacts and after assessing the current situation and conditions, the Turkish Armed Forces have started the evacuation,” said the note posted on the ministry’s website. The text recalls that the Turkish army has carried out “from 2002 to today, within the framework of agreements with the UN, NATO and bilaterals, a mission aimed at improving the stability, tranquility and peace of the Afghan people”. He also recalls that for six years Turkish troops have ensured the protection of Kabul’s international airport.

In this context, “they also managed to maintain security, in a joint intervention with the military of other countries, in the chaos that was experienced at the airport” after the recent takeover of the ultra-Islamist militia Taliban in the Afghan capital. . “In this process, our military aircraft evacuated 1,129 civilian citizens,” the statement said.

According to NATO data, the “Resolute Support” mission, launched in January 2015 to assist US-backed Afghan government forces, involved some 10,000 troops from 36 countries. Turkey provided the seventh largest contingent, with 600 troops, but was, along with the United States, Germany and Italy, one of four countries with operational responsibilities, including in Kabul.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey viewed Afghanistan’s near future “with cautious optimism”. “How Afghanistan will be in this process is something that will be known by the Taliban’s actions and attitudes, not by their words,” the president added in statements to Turkey’s Anadolu agency.

min (efe, afp)

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