Taliban delegation in Ankara for talks with Turkish officials

Oct 13, 2021: A high-level Taliban delegation has arrived in Turkey’s capital for talks as Afghanistan’s new government continues a diplomatic push for support and recognition.

Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi said on Thursday that acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and other ministers would meet “senior Turkish officials” to discuss “issues of mutual interest”, including aid, migration, air transport and trade.

Balkhi said the invitation was extended by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

The visit comes a day after Cavusoglu told reporters that he and other foreign ministers plan to visit the Afghan capital, Kabul, to hold talks with the Taliban, who took over the country in August. It comes after days of talks in Qatar, where the group called on US and European officials to end the country’s isolation, including easing financial sanctions that it said were crippling the country.

Turkey, a NATO member, has maintained its embassy in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of Western countries after the Taliban took over, and urged those countries to increase engagement.

At the same time, he said, it would only work fully with the Taliban if it formed a more comprehensive administration.

Turkey is also working with Qatar to operate the airport in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and reopen it for international travel.

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