Erdogan to discuss Afghanistan troop pullout with Biden

Erdogan to discuss Afghanistan troop pullout with Biden

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would be the "only reliable" country left to stabilise Afghanistan after the U.S. pulls out its troops, indicating Washington could rely on its NATO ally.

Erdogan also said he would discuss the issue in his first face-to-face meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on the margins of a NATO summit in Brussels on Monday, after strained relations between their two countries.

"America is preparing to leave Afghanistan soon and from the moment they leave, the only reliable country to maintain the process over there is obviously Turkey," Erdogan told reporters at an Istanbul airport on Sunday before leaving for Brussels.

The United States is in the final stages of completing a military drawdown, alongside NATO forces, by September 11 - 20 years after they invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban.

Turkey has reportedly said it is prepared to keep troops in Afghanistan to protect Kabul airport, the main exit route for western diplomats and humanitarian workers.

Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkish officials had informed their American counterparts about Ankara's plans in Afghanistan after the U.S. troop pullout, without providing details.

They are "pleased and happy. We will be able to discuss the Afghanistan process with them," AFP cited him as saying.

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