Erdogan says Turkey to maintain diplomatic presence in Kabul

Turkey’s President Erdogan says the Turkish embassy in Afghanistan has returned to its building in the capital, Kabul.

Erdogan also poured cold water over a plan in which Turkey operates Kabul airport and the Taliban provides security [Reuters]

The Turkish embassy in Kabul has returned to its building in the city and Ankara will maintain its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

NATO countries have been pulling out their diplomatic missions in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s victory two weeks ago.

Turkey has evacuated civilians and troops from Afghanistan except for a small “technical group”.

In an interview with Turkish media on a flight back from Montenegro on Sunday, Erdogan said the Turkish embassy in Kabul had relocated to its building in the city after operating from the airport for two weeks.

“They returned to our embassy building in the city centre the other day and they are continuing their activities from here,” he was quoted as saying by broadcaster NTV.

“Our plan now is to maintain our diplomatic presence in this way. We are continuously updating our plans according to developments regarding the security situation,” Erdogan said.

Erodgan has said Turkey welcomes the Taliban’s statements so far with “cautious optimism” but that it wants to see its actions.

Meanwhile, Erdogan poured cold water over a plan in which Turkey was to operate Kabul airport and the Taliban would be responsible for security, saying Ankara would be in a tough position if another attack occurs.

“How can we give the security to you? How would we explain it to the world if you took over security and there is another bloodbath there? This is not an easy job,” he was quoted as saying.

More than 100 people died in the suicide attack on Thursday outside Kabul airport, including 13 US service personnel, slowing down the airlift before US President Joe Biden’s deadline for evacuations ends on Tuesday.

Fresh attack warnings have rattled evacuation efforts overseen by US forces and Biden has warned another attack on the frantic airlift was “highly likely”.

Source: News Agencies