Intel: US engages Turkey over Kabul airport safety

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The Biden administration continues to speak with Turkish officers about Ankara’s proposal to take over safety at Kabul International Airport after US and NATO forces depart Afghanistan later this summer season.

The discussions come forward of President Joe Biden’s deliberate first assembly since taking workplace with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid deteriorated ties between the 2 NATO allies.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar mentioned Monday that Turkey may present forces to safe Kabul’s airport after Western forces depart Afghanistan if his authorities’s “political, financial and logistical support” requests had been met by allies.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby instructed reporters Wednesday that he couldn’t affirm these requests, however mentioned to Al-Monitor that talks concerning the proposal proceed.

US officers “have had ongoing discussions with Turkish leaders about their plans for security at the airport,” Kirby mentioned, including, “Obviously, this is a national decision that President Erdogan has to make and we respect that.”

“Security at the airport in whatever form … is going to be important not only for the United States, but for other nations to be able to maintain a diplomatic presence there in Kabul,” Kirby mentioned.

Turkish officers expressed openness to the thought in precept throughout a NATO summit in Brussels final month.

Why it issues: The move may present a chance to put a stepping stone on the lengthy path towards restoring shut relations between the 2 allies.

The two have up to now confirmed unable to compromise on disputes over US help for Kurdish-led fighters in Syria, whom Turkey considers terrorists, or on Ankara’s buy of Russia’s S-400 air protection system, which the United States says may pose a menace to the alliance’s plane.

What logistical help the United States and NATO could possibly supply stays unclear. The Pentagon doesn’t but have a transparent image of what its capabilities in Afghanistan might be after withdrawal.

US officers are nonetheless in search of entry to navy bases in regional international locations to proceed “over-the-horizon” counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan. Officials have mentioned Washington will solely depart a small contingent of forces to safe the US Embassy in Kabul.

The Pentagon can be in search of authority from the Biden administration to proceed airstrikes to help Afghanistan’s navy if Taliban forces threaten to seize main inhabitants facilities, The New York Times reported.

Reuters cited US officers as expressing some skepticism concerning the US skill to help the Turkish plan, however US officers are clearly open to partaking on the problem, as Kirby made clear Wednesday.

Turkey’s authorities had initially mentioned it will stay in Afghanistan following the NATO departure. But officers in Ankara backtracked on that concept final month, elevating concern amongst NATO member states who had hoped to depart embassies within the Afghan capital.

The Taliban have made startling positive factors towards native safety forces as Western forces withdraw their troops from the nation. Some 150 members of the Afghan safety forces had been killed or wounded in assaults throughout the nation in simply 24 hours earlier this week, Afghan officers mentioned.

What’s subsequent: Biden is ready to fulfill Erdogan on the NATO summit in Brussels on Tuesday to debate an array of points, starting from Turkey’s potential future function in Afghanistan to Syria, Iran and tensions within the japanese Mediterranean.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki referred to as the assembly “a priority” for Biden.

National safety adviser Jake Sullivan mentioned the president will search methods ahead on the 2 international locations’ “significant differences on values and human rights” and that Biden seems ahead to the chance “to review the full breadth of the relationship.”

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