A Taliban spokesperson said the group remains opposed to any Turkish military presence in Afghanistan, Sputnik Türkiye reported on Thursday.
Turkey has offered to maintain its security deployment at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport after other NATO forces complete their withdrawal ahead of U.S. President Joe Biden’s commitment to leave Afghanistan by Sept. 11.
Speaking to Russian state media, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid again rejected the Turkish proposal.
“We have already objected to Turkey’s stance,” he said. “We will not allow other foreign powers to stay in this country for any reason after the U.S. withdraws.”
Guaranteeing security at the Kabul airport is seen as crucial to allowing international embassies and aid organisations to access the country after international troops depart.
On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said his government had “no issues” with the Taliban’s conservative Islamic beliefs, making negotiations easier compared to other NATO powers.
Taliban spokesperson Mujahid welcomed a Turkish role in Afghanistan, but only in a diplomatic capacity.
“If Ankara contributes to progress in the negotiations and can improve the situation in Afghanistan, we will be happy about it,” Sputnik Türkiye cited him as saying. “But we will not let Turkey stay in Afghanistan.”
There are currently around 500 Turkish troops deployed to Afghanistan under a NATO mission to protect Hamid Karzai International Airport and train Afghan security forces.