Turkiye, Qatar reach deal on Kabul airport security

KABUL (Agencies): Turkiye and Qatar have reached an agreement on ensuring security at Kabul’s main airport should they be awarded the mission amid ongoing talks with the Taliban government. Turkish diplomatic sources told Reuters that Ankara and Doha had agreed on a security framework for the airport mission, but added talks continued on other aspects such as financing.
“It is expected for the Taliban to ensure security outside, and for whoever runs the airport to ensure it inside,” one of the sources said. “The process is continuing constructively,” the person said on condition of anonymity.
They added that a delegation of Turkish and Qatari officials were holding talks on the issue in Kabul this week. Qatar’s state news agency said the Taliban government will be in Doha next week to “complete” discussions with Qatar and Turkiye over the operation and management of the airport. It added in a statement that delegations from Qatar and Turkiye have held two days of “intense negotiations” in Kabul this week over control of the airport.
Kabul’s international airport is landlocked Afghanistan’s main air link to the world. Following the August takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, Turkiye has said it would be open to operating it with Qatar but only if its security demands are met. Reuters has reported that the United Arab Emirates also held talks with the Taliban to keep the airport operational.
Afghans and foreign nationals fled the country through the facility when the Taliban took power in August following two decades of war. But many are still seeking to flee the nation which is facing the threat of winter food shortages and economic collapse.
Turkey to send 700 tons of aid to Afghanistan: President Recep Tayyip Erdo%u011Fan announced that Turkey will send a “train of kindness” to Afghanistan carrying humanitarian aid.
Speaking after a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara, Erdo%u011Fan said the train, carrying 700 tons of food, clothing, and health and emergency goods, would be sent to the struggling country with the support of 10 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) under the coordination of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD). Aid agencies describe Afghanistan’s plight as one of the world’s most rapidly growing humanitarian crises.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), half the population now faces acute hunger, over 9 million people have been displaced and millions of children are out of school. Last week, the U.N. and its partners launched a $4.4 billion (TL 59 billion) funding appeal to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan in 2022.
U.N. chief Antonio Guterres has warned that millions of Afghans are on the verge of death, urging the international community to release Afghanistan’s frozen assets and jump-start its banking system. Erdo%u011Fan also commented on the economic situation in Turkey, saying there would be a “very different picture” of the country next year. He vowed to continue pursuing goals for a stronger future.
Mentioning the recently announced system to protect Turkish lira deposit accounts from foreign exchange fluctuations, he noted that deposits had reached TL 163 billion ($12.16 billion). In December, the U.S. dollar to lira exchange rate neared 20. But after the new system was announced, the lira gained significant value with a substantial decline in domestic interest in foreign currency.
Turkey also seeks to persuade people to put their gold into the financial system, the president added. He said with the support of the country’s Credit Guarantee Fund, preparations are near completion for a package designed to provide employment protection and develop priority loans. “We ask for your support to make Turkey a place where everyone does their work and holds their savings in Turkish liras,” he added.
Meanwhile, commenting on his recent annual meeting with European Union envoys, Erdo%u011Fan said they assessed the past and current state of ties between Turkey and the bloc, discussed points of impasse and proposed ways to resolve them.