US, Turkish Defense Ministers Discuss Maintaining Diplomatic Presence In Afghanistan

US, Turkish Defense Ministers Discuss Maintaining Diplomatic Presence in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 20th June, 2021) US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin discussed bilateral cooperation and Afghanistan in a phone conversation with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, the Pentagon said.

"Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke by phone today with Turkish Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar to discuss bilateral cooperation and maintaining continued diplomatic presence in Afghanistan. The Secretary reaffirmed the importance of the longstanding U.S.-Turkey defense relationship and thanked the Minister for the continuing communication and cooperation on peace and security issues," the US Department of Defense said on Saturday.

On Friday, Russia's special presidential representative for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, told Sputnik that Turkey's plans to guard the Kabul airport after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan run counter to agreements with the Taliban movement.

US President Joe Biden and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, discussed these plans earlier in the week at the NATO summit in Brussels.

Erdogan said at the summit that Washington's financial, diplomatic and logistical support would be vital in case Turkish forces had to stay in Afghanistan.