Turkey begins to withdraw military forces from Afghanistan

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Turkey has started to evacuate its armed forces from Afghanistan after assessing the current situation and conditions, the National Defense Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, referring to the Taliban takeover of the warring country.

“The Turkish armed forces return to their homeland with the pride of successfully fulfilling the task entrusted to them,” he added.

Since 2002, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have been operating in Afghanistan within the framework of the UN, NATO and bilateral agreements to contribute to the peace, well-being and stability of the Afghan people, according to the communicated.

He added that Turkish troops intervened with soldiers from other countries during the chaos and provided security at Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport.

As many as 1,129 civilian Turkish citizens were evacuated by military aircraft in the process, the statement noted.

“The withdrawal from Afghanistan could be completed in 36 hours,” presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın also said in a television interview later today.

“Our troops have successfully accomplished their duty,” he added.

“Civilian experts could support the management of the Kabul airport,” Kalın added.

“We must act according to the realities on the ground. “

The official also added that Turkey is in contact with the Iranian authorities regarding a possible migratory flow.

Earlier in the same day, Turkish officials said the Taliban had asked Turkey for technical assistance to manage the Kabul airport after the foreign forces left, but insisted the Ankara army also withdraw. completely by the end of August.

After the Taliban took control of the country, Turkey offered technical and security assistance at the airport.

Turkey hailed what it described as moderate statements by the Taliban since they captured Kabul, and said it was ready to engage with them once a new government is formed.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Tuesday that the group is seeking good relations with Ankara.

“We want good relations with Turkey, the Turkish government and the Muslim people of the Turkish nation. As for the Turkish forces stationed in Afghanistan, we do not need them in our country and once the evacuation is complete, we will secure the airport within ourselves, ”Mujahid said.

Turkey was responsible for securing Kabul airport as part of the NATO deployment and has participated in the evacuation efforts for the past two weeks.

The United States says it is coordinating with regional partners, as well as the Taliban, on the future operation of the Kabul airport.

“A functioning state, a functioning economy, a government that has some semblance of connection with the rest of the world, needs a functioning commercial airport,” State Department spokesman Ned said Monday. Price.

“We are in talks with the Taliban on this same front. They have told us unequivocally that they are looking to have a functioning commercial airport.”

The Taliban recently declared war on Afghanistan over after taking control of the presidential palace in Kabul, while Western countries rushed on Monday to evacuate their citizens amid chaos at the then-Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. that the frenzied Afghans were looking for a way out.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Sunday: “The Taliban have won with the judgment of their swords and guns, and are now responsible for the honor, property and preservation of their compatriots,” after fleeing the country as the militants virtually entered the capital. unopposed, saying he wanted to avoid the bloodshed. The hours that followed saw hundreds of desperate Afghans leave Kabul airport.

“Today is a great day for the Afghan people and the Mujahedin. They have witnessed the fruits of their efforts and sacrifices for 20 years,” Mohammad Naeem, spokesperson for the Taliban political bureau, told the media outlet. Qatar-based Al-Jazeera. TV. “Thank God the war is over in the country,” he said.

It took a little over a week for the Taliban to take control of the country after a lightning strike that ended in Kabul as government forces, trained for two decades and equipped by the United States and others at a cost of billions of dollars have melted away.

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