Turkey seems to be on a collision course with the Taliban after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused them of occupying Afghanistan.
In comments to reporters he said that the Afghan Taliban should “end the occupation of their brothers’ soil,” and that the Taliban’s approach was not the way one Muslim should deal with another.
“(The Taliban) need to end the occupation of their brothers’ soil and show the world that peace is prevailing in Afghanistan right away,” he said.
Ankara is currently in negotiations with the United States to run and guard Kabul airport after NATO withdraws. Turkey wants financial, political and logistical support from the United States for the deployment.
Turkey maintains hundreds of troops in Afghanistan and Ankara has said the airport must stay open to preserve diplomatic missions there.
But Last week, the Taliban called Turkey’s offer “reprehensible.” “We consider the stay of foreign forces in our homeland by any country under whatever pretext as occupation,” the group said.
Erdogan said that Turkey was planning talks with the Taliban over the group’s refusal to let Ankara run Kabul airport after U.S. troops withdraw from Afghanistan.
“God willing, we will see what kind of talks we will have with the Taliban and see where these talks take us,” he said.
The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 and have fought for 20 years to expel the foreign forces and topple the government in Kabul to re-impose their rule.