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Turkey says Taliban has asked it to run airport
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 27 - 08 - 2021

The Taliban has asked Turkey to operate Kabul airport but no decision has been made yet, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday.
"The Taliban have made a request for us to operate Kabul airport. We have not yet made a decision on this matter," he told a news conference at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport before leaving for a trip to Bosnia.
He added: "We will make a decision after the administration (in Afghanistan) is clear."
Erdogan said a meeting with the Taliban lasting more than three hours took place at the Turkish embassy in Kabul, without saying when the meeting took place. "If necessary, we will have the opportunity to hold such meetings again."
The president added that the evacuation of Turkish troops from Kabul, which began on Wednesday, was ongoing. He condemned the Thursday's attacks in Kabul.
The prospect of Turkey operating Hamid Karzai International Airport after the withdrawal of NATO troops was first raised in June but seemed to have passed when the Taliban took Kabul on Aug. 15.
The situation in Kabul seemed calm Friday morning, especially around the airport where the Taliban have reinforced their checkpoints and where the crowd seemed to have disappeared in places.
Evacuation flights from Afghanistan resumed with new urgency on Friday, a day after two suicide bombings targeted the thousands of desperate people fleeing the Taliban takeover.
The US said further attempted attacks are expected ahead of the Tuesday deadline for foreign troops to leave. Kabul residents said several flights took off Friday morning, while footage shared by a local Tolo TV correspondent showed the anxious crowd outside the airport as large as ever.
The Spanish government said it has ended its evacuation operation from Afghanistan with the arrival in Dubai early on Friday of the two military aircraft that have carried Spaniards and vulnerable Afghans out of the Taliban-controlled country.
The last flights carried Spanish aid workers, Afghan collaborators and their relatives, as well as the last 81 soldiers and diplomats that Spain kept at the Kabul airport, a statement from the Spanish government said. They were expected to arrive in Madrid later on Friday.
Spain has evacuated a total of 1,900 Afghan nationals, the statement said. Those include not only workers for the Spanish forces and embassy, and their relatives, but also people who collaborated with the United States, Portugal, the European Union, and NATO. — Euronews with inputs from agencies


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