Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said that a stable and peaceful Afghanistan has been an important issue for his government and that Ankara is determined to support the Afghan government and its people in the years ahead.
Defending NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, the Turkish diplomat said his country strongly supports the alliance’s mission in Afghanistan and Ankara was resolute at bolstering the Afghan efforts to reconstruct the country and help it overcome its challenges.
Speaking at a joint press conference with visiting NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, the Turkish foreign minister said that Turkey has been a leading NATO member country in Afghanistan.
“As long as Afghanistan needs our support, Turkey will continue to be present there, and we will also take part in the support mission of NATO in a determined manner,” Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said.
Hailing the role of Turkey in Afghanistan, NATO chief termed Turkish contribution as a NATO member critical.
“In the fight against terrorism, building local capacity is one of the best weapons we have. We see that actually every day in Afghanistan, Turkey plays a key role, you are one of the framework nations in our mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces,” the NATO chief said.
Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu stated that preparations for the Warsaw Summit as well as main issues on the agenda of NATO and Turkey’s contributions were discussed in his talks with the visiting NATO chief.
Meanwhile, Stoltenberg hailed Turkey’s contributions in NATO’s mission in its war against terrorism.
Back in 2001, Turkey deployed a number of forces in Afghanistan within the framework of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) following the downfall of the Taliban regime in the country.
Although the Turkish forces weren’t involved in combat missions initially, at least 15 Turkish soldiers have since lost their lives in Afghanistan.
Currently Turkey has 508 troops in the structure of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan with their main duties being to advise, train and assist the Afghan forces.