Turkey’s Erdogan says he might meet with Taliban management

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Wednesday that he might meet with management of the Afghan Taliban because the insurgents sweep throughout the nation amid NATO withdrawal.

“The newest developments and the state of affairs of the Afghan public are actually, actually troubling,” Erdogan informed CNN Turk on Wednesday.

“Maybe I’ll even be ready to obtain the one that is their chief,” he said.

Turkey’s government has offered to leave no more than 500 troops in Afghanistan to secure Kabul’s international airport after the United States and NATO complete their withdrawals later this month.

Ankara has conditioned the proposal on unspecified diplomatic logistical, and financial conditions. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday that those discussions are ongoing, but did not offer any updates.

US officials have described keeping the airport open as vital to securing international diplomatic and international aid missions in Afghanistan as the Islamist fighters rapidly advance.

But the Taliban have rejected the proposal for Turkey to leave troops to guard the airport.

The Islamist insurgents have quickly expanded their gains over the past week, and now hold roughly a quarter of the country’s provincial capitals — much quicker progress than US officials had predicted. The Taliban already control much of the country’s north and are beginning to threaten the government’s ability supply and defend population centers.

Kirby emphasized again Wednesday that the collapse of Kabul is not an inevitable outcome, and that the Afghan military dwarfs the Taliban’s forces.

Nonetheless, The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the US military has assessed that Kabul could potentially fall to the Taliban within 90 days. The State Department has reportedly weighed plans to draw down the US Embassy if needed. Yet Turkish officials say they are still open to securing the airport, according to Reuters.

“If we do not get a control of things like this at a high level, it won’t be possible to secure peace this time in Afghanistan,” Erdogan informed CNN Turk.

At home, the Turkish president faces growing strain over the rising presence of overseas refugees, first from Syria, and now from Afghanistan.

Turkey’s mission can also be a approach for Erdogan to regain some favor in Washington, the place he has turn into one thing of a pariah amongst lawmakers on Capitol Hill for human rights abuses at home and exporting Syrian mercenaries overseas.

The Biden administration has not wavered on its main dispute with NATO ally Turkey, nevertheless. A high State Department official informed lawmakers in June that the administration wouldn’t readmit Ankara to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program till Turkey removes the Russian S-400 missile protection system it bought in 2017.

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