Afghanistan: Turkey welcomes ‘positive messages’ from Taliban

Turkey said on Tuesday that it welcomed the “positive messages” to the international community given by Taliban fighters since their seizure of power in Afghanistan.

Ankara has been talking to Taliban leaders on a range of issues in the past few months, including its offer to protect Kabul airport following the withdrawal of US troops.

Turkey relocated its embassy staff to the airport as Taliban forces moved in on the capital over the weekend, and evacuated more than 300 Turkish nationals from Afghanistan on Monday.

Speaking on a visit to the Jordanian capital Amman, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara was taking a wait-and-see approach about its offer to protect the airport.

But he said the initial comments coming from the Taliban were encouraging.

“We welcome the positive messages given by the Taliban to foreigners, diplomatic missions and their own population. I hope we will see (the same approach) in their actions,” he said in televised remarks.

Cavusoglu noted that Turkish personnel have played a security role at the strategic air hub for years, adding Ankara wanted to see how the security situation in Kabul unfolds.

“We continue a dialogue with all parties in Afghanistan, including the Taliban,” he said.

“Right now, (the Afghans) are going to discuss all these issues among themselves. Who is going to take part in the transition, what kind of temporary government will they have? We will see and discuss all of this.”

The minister said it was not only Turks that Ankara stood ready to evacuate but also third party nationals.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi expressed concern about the fast-moving situation on the ground.

“The situation has changed rapidly… We want security and stability to be restored in Afghanistan,” Safadi told a joint news conference with Cavusoglu.

“The priority is to provide the country with the security and stability to avoid chaos and preserve the rights of citizens while looking for ways to evacuate foreign nationals.”

Jordan played an intelligence role in the long US drone war targeting Taliban and other militants in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area.

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