Will Pakistan Support Turkey’s Role to Secure Kabul Airport?

The Taliban are opposed to a proposal following the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan

Salman Ahmed

Pakistan has said it is not considering any proposal for Islamabad’s co-operation in securing an international air base in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The statement by Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry came at a time, when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said in a press conference on the sidelines of the NATO summit last week that Turkey should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops. The security mission will require the cooperation of the United States as well as Pakistan and Hungary.

Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry told reporters during a routine news briefing on last Thursday that a proposal to provide Pakistan’s assistance for the security of Kabul Airport was not under consideration. However, Islamabad is committed to playing a proper role in the Afghan peace process.

In this regard, observers say that despite the close ties between Pakistan and Turkey, it is unlikely that Islamabad will provide military assistance for any security mission in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops.

Journalist Rahimullah Yousafzai, an analyst on Afghan affairs, says that given the relationship between Islamabad and Kabul, it may not be possible for Pakistan to deploy troops or provide assistance in Afghanistan.

Also Read: Key Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Leader Found Murdered in Afghanistan

Rahimullah Yousafzai said it was not possible for Pakistan to send troops to Afghanistan. The rulers and the people of Afghanistan are also not in favor of the presence of Pakistan’s army in Afghanistan.

The Taliban are opposed to a proposal by Turkish officials to provide security at Kabul airport following the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

The withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan is underway. The process is expected to be completed before President Joe Biden’s September 11, 2021 deadline. Concerns are being raised that if no settlement is reached between the Afghan government and the Taliban before the withdrawal of foreign troops, the security situation in Afghanistan could deteriorate.

The United States and some other countries are proposing to keep Turkish troops in Afghanistan for the security of Kabul Airport so that the airport remains active.

“Turkish military presence in Afghanistan is possible only under an agreement”

But analyst Rahimullah Yousafzai says the Turkish military’s presence in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops is possible only under an agreement with the Afghan government and the Taliban.

According to him, this will be possible only if the Taliban agree to have a limited number of foreign troops for the security of Kabul Airport in order to deal with any emergency. However, if Turkey keeps its troops in Kabul without the agreement, it will not only be a violation of the Doha agreement, and the Taliban may not accept it in any way.

There have also been reports that after the withdrawal, the United States seeks to facilitate ground or air assets from Pakistan to facilitate military action to deal with any emergencies in Afghanistan and the threat of terrorist groups organizing.

In this regard, Dr. Zafar Jaspal, Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Quaid-e-Azam University, said that Turkey and Pakistan have good relations. The United States also wants NATO troops to remain in Kabul.

He said that Turkey was being encouraged to seek Pakistan’s cooperation. Maybe the Taliban are not ready for that. That is why the Taliban refused to attend the proposed Afghan peace conference in Turkey.

Also Read: Is Afghanistan Preparing For War Instead of Peace?

Observers believe that Turkey is trying to convince the United States that Pakistan’s cooperation and role is important for the security of Kabul Airport in Afghanistan. But, Prof. Dr. Zafar Jaspal says that Pakistan has refused to provide this facility to the United States. However, Pakistan can provide conditional cooperation to the United States and Turkey in this regard.

Earlier, US National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan said Thursday that during a meeting between US President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week, it was agreed that securing Kabul Airport is important. The work will be handed over to Turkey.

The agreement was reached between the US and Turkish presidents at a time when US troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan.

Jack Sullivan said the two leaders had not been able to resolve the long-term issue of Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 type Russian-made defense system.

He said it was a bitter dispute that had strained relations between NATO members and that dialogue on the issue would continue. The US National Security Adviser told reporters that Biden and Erdogan met on Monday during the NATO summit to discuss Afghanistan.

Also Read: US, Russia Dispute Over Withdrawal of Troops from Afghanistan Intensified

Sullivan said that Erdogan talked about getting various kinds of US support for the security of Kabul Airport and Biden assured his support.

Jack Sullivan said that the commitment made by the two leaders shows that Turkey will play a leading role in the security of the Hamid Karzai International Airport and at the moment we are determined that How to achieve the goal.

Turkish presidential officials did not provide any details on the matter, while the United States provided details about the talks that took place during the meeting.

Turkey and the United States, on the other hand, have been at odds over a number of issues, including Turkey’s purchase of Russian weapons, as well as Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Therefore, regarding the meeting between the two presidents, it was said that the meeting between Erdogan and Biden is unlikely to result in any progress.

After the meeting, the two leaders gave a pleasant impression. However, they have not announced any concrete progress. Possible cooperation could be on the issue of Afghanistan, where the withdrawal of US and NATO forces will continue in the next few weeks, during which Turkey has offered to take over the security and maintenance of Kabul Airport.

Also Read: Taliban Kill Nine Afghan Border Force Members in Two Attacks in Afghanistan

The security of Kabul Airport will be crucial as Western forces withdraw and the withdrawal of diplomatic missions from Afghanistan begins.

Last week, a Taliban spokesman said a 2020 agreement on the withdrawal of US troops would force Turkey to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.

But Jack Sullivan said the Taliban’s statement would not pose a threat to the “detailed and effective” security plan drawn up by the United States.

“We consider the threat of an attack on Western or international forces by the Taliban or other elements in Afghanistan a serious and worrying issue,” he said.

“We do not think that what the Taliban have announced could result in any difficulty in our plan to establish security,” he said.

Contrary to the harsh stance taken by his predecessor Donald Trump, President Biden has adopted a tolerant attitude towards Erdogan.

However, Biden was quick to acknowledge that the 1915 genocide against Armenia was tantamount to genocide, to which Turkey had expressed anger.

It was not immediately clear whether Biden raised the issue of human rights during his meeting with Erdogan.

Sullivan did not say how the stalemate over the purchase of the S-400 Russian defense system, which led the United States to exclude Turkey from its F-35 fighter jet program, could be resolved. Sanctions were imposed on Turkey.

According to Jack Sullivan, they discussed the issue but no solution was forthcoming.

He said that commitment was expressed to continue dialogue on the issue of S400 and after this meeting both the parties would now continue to consider it.

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