An official from Afghanistan’s Civil Aviation Authority said work is underway on a security framework for Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul that will be finalized soon, but added that the government so far has not decided whether to hand over the responsibilities of the airport to Turkish forces once all foreign troops depart.
The security of the international airport after the full withdrawal of US and coalition forces has been a major concern for Afghanistan’s allies at NATO, which is expected to discuss the issue in a meeting this week with members of the alliance including Turkey.
“Work on a framework is underway for all airports, including Kabul. It will be completed in the near future,” said Hasib Sorosh, the deputy head of the civil aviation authority for planning and policy.
The authority pledged that Afghanistan will have the ability to independently conduct airport operations after the withdrawal of troops.
“We can conduct aviation operations in all our international airports independently,” Sorosh said.
One member of the Taliban negotiating team in Doha told TOLOnews that the possibility of handing over the airport authority to Turkish forces will have a negative impact on the peace negotiations.
“This should have been sorted out when they were negotiating with the Taliban, but, unfortunately, they made haste at that time,” said Sayed Ishaq Gailani, the head of the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan.
The Taliban in a statement last week said the safety of the airport is part of the responsibility of Afghans, and called on all international troops, including Turkey’s forces, to leave Afghanistan under the Doha agreement signed in 2020.
“Afghanistan is ours and its protection is our enduring responsibility. Right now, Afghans are ready for this responsibility more than any other time,” said Rahmatullah Andar, spokesman for the National Security Council.
At a press conference on Friday, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance is talking with different allies, including Turkey, on maintaining support for the international airport in Kabul after the US and coalition forces withdraw from the country.
He said the issue is important not only for NATO: An airport and all the critical infrastructure is important for the whole international community, for the diplomatic presence of all countries, and for development aid and different aid organizations.