US officials to visit Turkey for Kabul airport talks

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US defense officials will visit Turkey on Thursday to discuss the future of Kabul’s airport, a Turkish defense ministry source said, after Ankara promised to secure the strategic site, Agence France-Presse reported.

Turkey committed to providing security for the airport after US forces complete their troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in September, in a move hailed as a mark of improving ties between Ankara and Washington.

The US defense delegation will hold talks with Turkish officials, the source said on Tuesday, without providing details.

The visit will come 10 days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and US counterpart Joe Biden met in Brussels on the sidelines of a NATO summit.

The airport was among several issues discussed during the two leaders’ first encounter since Biden’s election victory over Donald Trump, who enjoyed a personal friendship with Erdoğan.

Turkey, a NATO member, has played a key role in Afghanistan since 2001, including by deploying troops in non-combat roles.

Turkey also offered to host talks on Afghanistan’s future with Taliban and government officials earlier this year, but there were multiple delays and Taliban opposition.

Despite potential cooperation in Afghanistan, tensions remain between Turkey and the US over several issues, including Ankara’s purchase of a Russian air missile defense system.

Washington responded by imposing sanctions on Turkey last year.

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