Turkish troops begins withdrawal from Afghanistan
Turkey has begun evacuating its armed forces from Afghanistan after evaluating the current situation and conditions, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement late Wednesday, referring to the Taliban’s takeover of the war-ridden country.
“Turkish Armed Forces returning to their homeland with pride of successfully fulfilling task entrusted to them,” it added.
As many as 1,129 civilian Turkish citizens were evacuated through military aircraft during the process, the statement noted.
“Withdrawal from Afghanistan could be completed in 36 hours,” Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın also said during a televised interview later in the day.
“Our troops completed their duty successfully,” he added.
“Civilian experts could provide support in running Kabul airport,” Kalın further added.
“We have to act in line with the realities on the field.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara was still interested in playing a role in Afghanistan, keeping its lines of communication open with Taliban leaders.
“It is important for Afghanistan to stabilise,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said as the troop withdrawal was announced.
“Turkey will continue to be in close dialogue with all parties in Afghanistan in line with this goal.”
Erdogan has been under intense political pressure at home not to accept migrants that might come from Afghanistan in response to the fundamentalist Islamist group s rise.
Turkey became home to more than four million migrants — most of them from Syria — under a deal that helped stem the European Union s migrants crisis in 2016.
Ankara is building a wall along its eastern border to Iran to keep out Afghans trying to use the route to enter Europe.
Erdogan said Turkey was now home to roughly five million migrants of various status and could not accept any more. “We cannot handle an additional burden of migration originating from Syria or Afghanistan,” he said.