Asia Pacific

Turkey says Kabul airport issue to "take shape" in coming days

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Afghan passengers walk in front of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani/File Photo

ISTANBUL, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Turkey believes it would be beneficial for Kabul airport to remain open and the issue will "take shape" in the coming days,

Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Thursday as talks continued on Turkey running the airport.

He was speaking at the Turkish Embassy in Islamabad as Afghan government forces battled Taliban fighters in and around several cities on Thursday, and after a U.S. defence official said U.S. intelligence believed the Taliban could take over Kabul within 90 days. read more

Turkey has offered to deploy troops at Kabul airport after NATO withdraws and has held talks with the United States for weeks. In exchange, President Tayyip Erdogan has asked for financial, logistical and diplomatic conditions to be met. read more

Akar said there had been suggestions that diplomatic missions would completely withdraw if the airport was closed.

"For this reason we continue to share our view that the airport should remain open. In the coming days this issue will take shape," he said in comments which were published in a defence ministry statement.

Two Turkish officials said on Wednesday Ankara is for now still intent on running and guarding the airport, but is monitoring the situation after rapid advances by the Taliban. read more

Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun and Can Sezer Writing by Daren Butler Editing by Dominic Evans

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