Turkey agrees to take control of Kabul international airport
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Turkey agrees to take control of Kabul international airport

03 Jun 2021 (Last Updated June 3rd, 2021 15:49)

The Turkish Government is to take control of Hamid Karzai International Airport, which is located 16km away from Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan.

Turkey agrees to take control of Kabul international airport
Kabul’s international airport air traffic control tower in Kabul, Afghanistan. Credit: ISAF Headquarters Public Affairs Office / Wikimedia.

The Government of Turkey has reportedly agreed to take over the control of Kabul’s international airport in a deal worth $130m with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The Hamid Karzai International Airport (KBL) is located 16km away from Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan.

It is the primary airport in the country and also serves as a military base.

It is a hub for many Afghan airlines such as Ariana Afghan Airlines, Kam Airlines, Safi Airways and Pamir Airways.

The latest agreement follows a period of uncertainty over the Turkish Government’s commitment to defending the airport.

A September 11 deadline has been set for the US and NATO forces to complete the withdrawal from Afghanistan, reported the National.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Afghanistan requested NATO to hand over the control of the air traffic control (ATC) tower at Kabul’s airport last month.

A government official was quoted as saying by The National: “We are struggling with the transition of taking over the airports from Nato control.

“We don’t have the capacity to run the airports with Afghans alone due to a lack of expertise, nor do we have the financial ability to bring in private contractors.”

In July 2014, the Taliban attacked Kabul’s international airport’s military wing by firing two rockets, which damaged three helicopters and destroyed the president’s helicopter and two belonging to the Interior Ministry.

Last year, three rockets landed near the airport, claiming one life and causing two injuries.

As reported in the publication, the foreign and defence ministers of Nato met on 1 June to prepare for the bloc’s first summit with the US President on 14 June to discuss the withdrawal from Afghanistan.