KABUL (Pajhwok): Turkey’s defence minister says that NATO and the US have talked to him on the security of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, but they have set their own conditions.
Recently, some local and foreign media outlets reported that NATO and the US want to hand over security of the Hamid Karzai International Airport to Turkey.
A British newspaper (The Sun) and some other media organisations reported that NATO and the US had discussed the issue with the Afghan government and Turkey.
Reaction from Turkey:
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said his country could keep its troops in Afghanistan only if political, financial and logistic support was provided by allies.
The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet said Hulusi Akar made the remarks to reporters at Aksaz naval base during the Sea Wolf (Denis Kurdu) military exercise.
“We have talked to the US about this, as well as the matter was discussed at the NATO defence ministerial meeting last week,” Hulusi Akar said.
According to him, Turkey has conveyed its conditions to the US and NATO. If the terms are accepted, Turkish troops will stay in Afghanistan to maintain the Kabul airport security.
Some media outlets say Turkey has asked NATO and the US for $130 million for the security and operation of the Kabul airport –a demand met by the allies.
Turkey has 500 soldiers in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission (RSM), which has been training and advising Afghan security forces.
The Hamid Karzai International Airport has two sections (military and civilian). The military portion is used by the Afghan Ministry of Defence and foreign forces.
Last month, the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA) asked NATO to give it full control of the airport. But there are some concerns about Afghanistan’s incapability of operating the airport.
Reaction from Afghan govt:
Gran Hewad, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Pajhwok Afghan News official sources had not yet commented on the matter and did not want to answer rumours.
Mohammad Naeem Salehi, spokesman for the ACAA, said no information had been shared with them so far. He suggested it would be better to ask security agencies about the matter.
Rahmatullah Andar, spokesman for the National Security Council, told Pajhwok a transition commission was set up after foreign troops started exiting Afghanistan.
He said the committee was responsible for the security of airports at the national and international levels, strengthening and development of systems and receiving equipment and supplies from foreigners.
Some of the tasks had been completed so far and the process continued, the official added, without saying anything specifically about Turkey.
Based on the official statement from the Turkish defence minister in this regard, it seems the issue of handing over the Kabul airport security to Turkey is largely correct.
The report regarding the handover of the Hamid Karzai airport security to Turkey is mostly accurate.
Ahmad Sohaib Hasrat
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