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No decision yet in Turkey’s negotiations for Kabul Airport

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(Last Updated On: July 3, 2021)

Turkey’s defense minister said Friday that negotiations over his country’s proposal to operate and secure the key international airport in Afghanistan are taking place, the Associated Press reported.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Turkey was discussing the plan with several countries. “There must be some political decisions at the United Nations and NATO, and an agreement must be reached with the Afghan government,” he said, adding that Turkey was seeking political, financial and logistical support from various countries.

He emphasized that a final decision had not yet been reached, but negotiations with the United States were continuing and the plan would be executed after the Turkish president’s approval.

Earlier this summer, Turkey proposed to operate and provide security for Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport in the aftermath of the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed it with U.S. President Joe Biden at their first face-to-face meeting during the NATO summit in mid-June.

An agreement on the protection of the airport has become increasingly urgent as the final withdrawal of the remaining 2,500-3,500 U.S. troops and 76,000 allied NATO soldiers nears a conclusion.

On Friday all U.S. troops left Bagram Airfield after 20 years. The airfield had been the epicenter of the countrywide military operation to defeat the Taliban and hunt down al-Qaida perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

NATO-member Turkey has over 500 troops in Afghanistan and already plays a significant role at the airport. Akar has previously said Turkey has no plans to deploy more troops.

“The airport must be open and operate. If the airport doesn’t work, embassies will pull out, and in such a situation, Afghanistan would become an isolated state,” the defense minister said.

Without a separate agreement on the airport the current operations would have to be maintained under the Resolute Support Mission, which is the current U.S.-led military mission. Until there is an agreement it is not clear that the U.S. and NATO can declare their military mission in Afghanistan over.

“We have stated our intent. We said we can stay if these conditions are realized,” Akar said.

The minister’s comments were carried by official Anadolu news agency.

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Pentagon offers payment to families of victims of botched drone strike

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(Last Updated On: October 16, 2021)

The Pentagon has offered unspecified condolence payments to the family of 10 civilians who were killed in a botched U.S. drone attack in Afghanistan in August in the final days before American troops withdrew from the country.

The U.S. Defense Department said it made a commitment that included offering ex-gratia condolence payments, in addition to working with the U.S. State Department in support of the family members who were interested in relocation to the United States.

The Pentagon had said the strike targeted an Islamic State (Daesh) suicide bomber who posed an imminent threat to U.S.-led troops as they completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The intelligence failure raised hard questions about future risks, particularly whether the United States can keep track of threats from Afghanistan without a presence in the country.

The confirmation of civilian deaths provided further fuel to critics of the chaotic U.S. withdrawal, which generated the biggest foreign policy crisis yet for President Joe Biden’s administration.

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NASA probe will study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids

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(Last Updated On: October 16, 2021)
NASA launched a first-of-its kind mission on Saturday to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, two large clusters of space rocks that scientists believe are remnants of primordial material that formed the solar system’s outer planets. Matthew Larotonda reports.
 
NASA launched a new space probe on Saturday (October 16) morning in a special 12-year mission designed to visit more asteroids than ever before.

It focuses on the Trojan asteroids, which are two large clumps of space rocks orbiting the sun. One floats ahead of Jupiter and the other behind it.

Scientists believe the rocks are leftovers from the formation of our solar system.

The probe is called “Lucy” and NASA hopes it will help us learn more about our solar system’s history.

The asteroids are also rich in carbon compounds, and may provide insights into organic materials and life on Earth.

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Turkey could run Kabul airport, says Erdogan

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(Last Updated On: October 16, 2021)

Having previously run Kabul airport, Turkey can take similar steps in the future with Qatar and Afghanistan if the three countries reach a deal, the Turkish president said on Friday.

“So far, we have had a lot of effort in Afghanistan’s infrastructure and superstructure … We were operating the Kabul Airport. In the future, if agreements can be reached, Turkey, Qatar, Afghanistan, we can take such steps,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters.

About the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s recent visit to Turkey, Erdogan said the group asked for humanitarian aid and “made requests concerning the functionality of new process in Afghanistan.”

Erdogan vowed to provide “all manner of support” to the Afghan people as long as the interim administration “takes a just stance in protecting the rights of the Afghan people.”

He said the IEA should also take a fair stance in their relations with Turkey.

An IEA delegation visited Turkey on Thursday to discuss bilateral issues, as well as cooperation on the future of Afghanistan.

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