President Erdogan proposes joint Pakistan, Hungary mission to keep Kabul airport safe

President Erdogan

BRUSSELS: Following the withdrawal of other NATO soldiers, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has proposed a new cooperative mission to defend and administer Kabul’s international airport, which would include Pakistan and Hungary.

During a press conference at the NATO summit in Brussels on Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his nation would want “diplomatic, logistic, and financial assistance” from the US if it wanted to keep soldiers in Afghanistan for security operations.

Ankara is said to have volunteered to defend the airport, according to TRT World, amid worries over security along vital transportation lines and at the airport, which is Kabul’s principal entrance.

“If they don’t want us to leave Afghanistan, if they want a (Turkish) support there, then the diplomatic, logistic, and financial support that the United States will give us will be of great importance,” Erdogan said.

Approximately 500 Turkish troops are presently stationed in the war-torn nation.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement that the alliance has yet to determine who would administer the Kabul international airport when the soldiers leave.

NATO agreed to provide transitory money for the Hamid Karzai airport, with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg saying Turkey will play a crucial role.

On the margins of the NATO summit, Tayyip Erdogan claimed he had a “fruitful and sincere” meeting with his US colleague Joe Biden.

“We believe there is no problem that cannot be resolved in Turkey-US relations,” Erdogan added after holding his first meeting with Biden since his election.

Turkey’s acquisition of a Russian S-400 missile defence system, which the US says may be used to spy on Western defences, strained relations between the two NATO members.

Erdogan said that no progress has been made in the S-400 debate. For the acquisition last year, Washington placed sanctions on Turkey’s military procurement agency.

It also kicked Turkey out of the F-35 programme, which sees Western allies supply components for the next-generation fighter plane and secures Turkey’s early purchase rights.

“On the issue of S-400s, I told (Biden) the same thing I had in the past,” Erdogan said.

“I raised the issue of F-35s,” Erdogan said in a signal that he wanted Turkey admitted back into the programme.

“I told him what joint steps we can take on the defence industry.”

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