Turkey says ‘no need to rush’ recognizing Taliban

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Turkey said on Tuesday there was “no need to rush” in recognizing the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan, adding that Ankara was still holding discussions about operating Kabul’s strategic airport, Agence France-Presse reported.

In a wide-ranging television interview, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu sounded a cautious note about Turkey’s future relations with the fundamentalist Islamist group.

He said Afghanistan’s new government needed to be “inclusive,” adding that women and a range of ethnic groups should be given ministerial posts.

The Taliban on Monday claimed total control over Afghanistan, saying they had won the key battle for the Panjshir Valley, the last remaining holdout of resistance against their rule.

But Çavuşoğlu said the international community should take a wait-and-see approach before recognizing its rule, sounding a similar tone to one adopted by the European Union at a meeting last Friday.

“There is no need to rush,” he said. “This is our advice to the entire world. We should act together with the international community.”

Turkey has been holding talks with the Taliban in Kabul, where it still has a diplomatic presence, about the conditions under which it could help operate the Afghan capital’s airport.

US officials say they no longer control the airspace in Afghanistan and that the main airport in Kabul, which the US military seized in August for evacuations, is in disrepair.

Çavuşoğlu said Turkey was working with Qatar and the US on the terms under which the airport could reopen to regular flights needed to deliver humanitarian aid, evacuate stranded civilians and re-establish diplomatic missions in Kabul.

But he said security remained a key sticking point, stressing that commercial flights could never resume until airlines — and their insurers — felt that conditions were sufficiently safe.

“In my view, the Taliban or Afghan forces could ensure security outside the airport,” Çavuşoğlu said.

“But inside, there could be a security company trusted by the international community or all other companies,” he said. “Even if airlines, including Turkish Airlines, are keen to fly there, insurance companies would not allow it.”

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