“The elements of the Turkish armed forces on mission at the Hamid Karzai airport in Afghanistan have started to be evacuated. The Turkish armed forces are returning to our homeland, ”the defense ministry said in a statement.
Nearly 500 Turkish non-combatant soldiers were in Afghanistan as part of a NATO mission.
Prior to the announcement of the withdrawal of its troops, Turkey had conducted negotiations with Washington and the Taliban to continue to provide security at Kabul airport after the withdrawal of American troops, which is expected to be accomplished on Tuesday.
But the capture of Kabul on August 15 by the Taliban, after a 10-day offensive that saw the collapse of Afghan forces and caused President Ashraf Ghani to flee abroad, upset Turkey’s plans, robbing him of the possibility of taking on a role from which she would hope to have positive repercussions for her – tumultuous – relations with the United States.
Despite a particularly chaotic situation, 88,000 people, Afghans and foreigners, have been evacuated since the airlift was set up on August 14, on the eve of the Taliban’s entry into Kabul, the White House said.
Erdogan wants to continue playing a role in Afghanistan
In a speech at the same time as the announcement of the withdrawal of troops from Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his wish to continue playing a role in Afghanistan. “Turkey will continue a close dialogue with all parties in Afghanistan,” he said.
“Turkey, which already hosts five million refugees, cannot bear an additional migratory burden,” Erdogan said on Saturday.
According to the Turkish Defense Ministry, Ankara evacuated 1,129 people from Afghanistan, a figure that differs from the 1,404 people previously mentioned by the Turkish Foreign Minister.