Turkish forces to stay in Afghanistan as long as Kabul wants: Erdogan

Turkish forces to stay in Afghanistan as long as Kabul wants: Erdogan

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‘Afghanistan has been hurt seriously and we will continue to help them heal these wounds,’ President Erdogan says after meeting his Afghan counterpart Ghani

ANKARA (Turkey) – Turkey will recall its troops from Afghanistan whenever Kabul says OK, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday, Anadolu news Agency reported.

Addressing a joint press conference with his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani in the Turkish capital, Ankara, Erdogan said: “Afghanistan has been hurt seriously and we will continue to help them heal these wounds.

“Our armed forces have been in Afghanistan for security purposes from the beginning and now, as you know, we have a [training] mission there. We will continue obeying the chronological schedule decided by our Afghan brothers in accordance with the negotiations. We will recall our soldiers when Afghanistan says ‘OK’. “

“Turkish soldiers have been standing shoulder-to-shoulder with us,” Ghani acknowledged, adding: “Once again, we would like to thank you as you have stood by Afghan people”.

Erdogan also emphasized that Turkey’s cooperation with Afghanistan in political, economic, commercial and cultural fields would also continue.

Turkey and Afghanistan signed three agreements, including a memorandum of understanding on political solidarity, security cooperation and a declaration of will for the construction of a Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi Turkish-Afghan University campus in Kabul.

A mission called the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan was completed at the end of 2014. Training and assistance of Afghan security forces and institutions now continues through a new, follow-up mission led by NATO called Resolute Support (RSM), which was launched on Jan. 1.

Turkey, along with Germany and Italy, decided to keep their deployments in Afghanistan at current levels after the US government decided to prolong its 14-year-old military presence there in October.

“International society should not repeat their fault as they did in the past and should not leave Afghanistan alone in it’s upcoming ten years of transitional period. They especially should maintain their support to Pakistan in terms of development and ensuring security.”

Erdogan said at a joint press conference with his Afghan counterpart, Ashraf Ghani, in Ankara.

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