Turkey Aims to Play Stabilizing Role in Afghanistan after NATO Withdrawal - The Turkish Armed Forces left Afghanistan, but Ankara is poised to play key security and diplomatic roles in the country.
3 September 2021
Turkish officials announced the evacuation of the Turkish military contingency from the Kabul Airport on August 25, 2021, despite separate discussions with the United States and the Taliban for Turkey to continue running the Kabul International Airport.1 Top Turkish officials had argued that the Turkish forces could continue to manage the security and operations of the airport as they had since 20. [...] Turkey will likely perceive one or multiple of the following objectives in the near term as advantageous to its regional and global standing: - Deliver legitimacy to a new Afghan government: As a Muslim NATO country, Turkey could be a useful partner for the Taliban leadership to gain international acceptance and legitimacy as well as access to global financial systems. [...] It has also been in frequent contact with many NATO allies to discuss developments in Afghanistan and demand financial support.12 Ankara will seek to use its unique position in and access to Afghanistan to improve relations with NATO allies, particularly the United States, and gain concessions. [...] Ankara is also attempting to lessen public opposition to the government’s cooperation with the Taliban by using the pro-government Turkish media to present a moderate image of the Taliban.14 - Refugee flows into Turkey: Ankara receives significant public criticism for hosting more than 4 million Syrian refugees in addition to the Afghans who fled Afghanistan in recent months.15 Turkish officials w. [...] Trends to Watch Turkish outreach to non-Taliban stakeholders: A Turkish outreach effort to the Taliban opposition in the Panjshir Valley or other exiled leaders would indicate a change in the Turkish calculus.