16:58 GMT26 July 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States and Turkey are finalizing the details on Ankara’s plan to run the airport in Kabul once US troops withdraw from Afghanistan, US Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby said on Monday.

    “We are still in discussions with the Turks about some of the final modalities and details of exactly what that's going to look like,” Kirby told reporters, referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks that Ankara remained open to managing the Kabul airport upon the exit of the US forces from Afghanistan.

    Erdogan’s remarks came after reports that the Taliban movement* has refused to allow Turkish forces to control the Kabul airport.

    Turkey has been in talks with Defense Department officials over its offer to help secure and run the airport, which is key to retaining a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan after the US troop withdrawal. Erdogan and US President Joe Biden discussed the issue in a face-to-face meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit in June.

    “We are grateful that Turkey has agreed to lead the security efforts at Hamid Karzai International Airport,” Kirby said. “As we've said all along, security there is going to be critical to our ability, any nation's ability, to have a diplomatic presence in Kabul."

    Kirby also said that the US president has been very clear that the United States will have some kind of diplomatic presence in Afghanistan "So we need to make sure that the airport is appropriately secure.”

    *The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia

    Taliban, Afghanistan, Turkey, US
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