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    HomeAsiaAfghanistanTaliban warn Turkey against plan to guard Kabul airport

    Taliban warn Turkey against plan to guard Kabul airport

    Ankara, which has offered to run and guard the airport in the capital after NATO withdraws, has been in talks with the United States on financial, political and logistical support.

    Turkey has repeated that the airport must stay open to preserve diplomatic missions in Afghanistan, where a blast rocked Kabul on Tuesday and clashes have intensified across the country.

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    “If Turkish officials fail to reconsider their decision and continue the occupation of our country, the Islamic Emirate… will take a stand against them,” the Taliban said in a statement, referring to Turkey’s plan.

    The Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan with an iron fist from 1996 to 2001, have been fighting for 20 years to topple the Western-backed government in Kabul.

    Emboldened by the departure of foreign forces by a September target, they are making a fresh push to surround cities and gain territory.

    Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Monday evening that Turkey agreed to some points with U.S. counterparts on running the airport and work towards a deal continues.

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    “The airport needs to remain open, be operated. All countries say this. If the airport does not operate, the countries will have to withdraw their diplomatic missions there,” he said.

    Talks now involving ministries should be complete by the time U.S. forces leave, a senior Turkish official told Reuters. “We still think there will be an agreement on the airport. We want to side with the Afghan people,” the official said.

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