The United States has accepted an offer from Turkey to secure the Kabul airport after the withdrawal of US troops. There are growing concerns that the Taliban could take over the nation once the Americans exit and create new security challenges for the Afghan government.
It is interesting to note why Turkey wants to get involved in providing security to the Kabul airport. Turkish President Erdogan met Joe Biden during the NATO Summit in Brussels where he made the offer. Relations between both nations have nosedived in recent years after Turkey purchased the S-400 ballistic missiles from Russia and was subsequently expelled from receiving F-35 shipments. Turkey is a non-Western NATO member and wants to maintain its presence in Afghanistan. There were even reports that Pakistan would have a role in securing the Kabul airport but the Foreign Office has denied any such proposal.
The United States has announced to withdraw all troops by September 11 to end the longest war. US National Security Advisor Jack Sullivan said NATO troops cannot stay forever and will leave after nearly two decades. However, there has been no peace deal or ceasefire and violence can escalate once again. The Taliban consider themselves as the government-in-waiting and could take over the country and impose their own brand of conservative Islam. This will revive bitter memories of the atrocities committed when the Taliban overtook the nation in 1996 and could erode all peace progress.
The US has agreed to train Afghan security forces but they are no match against the Taliban fighters. A takeover of Afghanistan would also send an adverse message around the world. It is now up to other nations like Turkey to intervene and prevent such an incident. The Kabul airport will be the first target and security of the institution is crucial to prevent the fallout. The Taliban have also warned that it will not allow the presence of foreign forces, even Turkey or Pakistan, once the Americans are gone.
Pakistan is being blamed for having a soft corner for the Afghan Taliban although it has denied having any favourites and wants peace. NATO Defence College in Rome released a report that Pakistan is not in favour of a Taliban takeover and is making efforts for Afghan peace. Turkey is an influential Muslim country and can also play a key role in Afghanistan to prevent further bloodshed and anarchy in the war-ravaged nation.