Taliban say they have a 'deep relation and connection' with Turkey

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has said on Sept. 7 that the Islamist group has a "deep relation and connection" with Turkey. On the same day, Turkish Foreign Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey was working with the United States and Qatar on getting the Kabul airport operating again.

Duvar English 

A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, has referred to Turkey as an “ally and brother” country, saying the group has “a deep relation and connection” with it.

“Turkey is an ally and brother country, we have a very deep relation and connection. We were friends for the whole history and will continue to be so. We are striving to protect our ties with Turkey in the best way; the trust between us needs to be full,” Mujahid said in an interview with Turkey's İhlas News Agency on Sept. 7.

“We want to consider Turkey's state experience, government management, as well as experience in Islamic and other trade and investment areas,” he said.

He said although the Taliban reject the presence of any foreign troops, including Turkish, on Afghan soil, "this does not mean that we do not want Turkey's support.”

The spokesman also said that the Taliban plan to open all the embassies of foreign countries in Afghanistan.

“All the embassies will be opened. We present our thanks to all embassies who have stayed up to now; we will ensure the security of all embassies that have been running their operation. And we want the embassies that have closed down to be opened as soon as possible,” he said.

Turkey working with US, Qatar to get Kabul airport operational

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Sept. 7 that Turkey was working with the United States and Qatar on getting the Kabul airport operational again. 

Technical experts from Turkey and Qatar have begun repairs at the Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport, but it’s not clear when the airport will be up and running. 

Because of the damage, pilots flying into and out of the airport are operating in "fly-as-you-see" mode, Çavuşoğlu said. 

The minister told Turkish broadcaster NTV that Turkey and Qatar were working to ensure that both humanitarian and commercial flights could operate. "For both of these, the most important criteria is security," he said.

Turkey says it wants to provide security inside the airport to protect any Turkish team deployed there and safeguard operations, but that the Taliban have insisted there can be no foreign forces present.

Çavuşoğlu suggested the task could be given to a private security company. "In the future, if everything comes back on track in Afghanistan and the security concern is lifted, Afghan forces can do this.

"But right now, nobody is certain. There is no confidence."

Çavuşoğlu said a "pre-delegation" of 19 Turkish technicians was working at Kabul airport with a Qatari team. 

Sounding a cautious note about Turkey's future relations with the Taliban, Çavuşoğlu also called for an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

The minister did not directly respond to a question whether Turkey would recognize a Taliban administration. “If unity is desired in the country, a government that will include everyone must be established,” he said.

“It is our wish that women will also be in the established government,” he added. “We will act according to the conditions and developments.”

On Sept. 6, a Taliban representative told the Al Jazeera TV channel that the group invited a number of countries, including Turkey, to attend the ceremony of the new government formation in Afghanistan.

"We have sent invitations to Turkey, China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan and Qatar to take part in the [ceremony] of announcing [the composition of the new Afghan] government," the group’s representative, whose name has not been disclosed, said.