Istanbul: Turkey has pulled out all its civilians and military from Afghanistan except for a small number of technicians, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, while appearing to criticise the manner of the US withdrawal.
“We transported our citizens to our country. Currently we have a small number of technical elements. Apart from this, we have withdrawn all our teams,” Erdogan told a news conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia on Friday.
“Countries that say they are the strongest in the world should leave the places they enter much more carefully,” he said.
“Leaving these countries by handing them over to terrorist organisations has a high cost.”
In an apparent reference to the Taliban and the Islamic State group, Erdogan said there was a conflict “between terrorist organisations” in Afghanistan and “it is unthinkable that Turkey or any other country will profit from their conflict”.
Earlier Friday, Erdogan said Turkey was in talks with the Taliban over providing technical support to keep the airport running after NATO forces leave.
The prospect of Turkey operating Hamid Karzai International Airport after the withdrawal of foreign troops was first raised in June but seemed to have passed when the Taliban took Kabul on August 15.