Turkey’s Erdogan says he may receive Taliban leader for talks

President did not make it clear when such a meeting could occur

FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a meeting to unveil the Human Rights Action Plan?in Ankara, Turkey March 2, 2021. Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE./File Photo
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that he might receive the leader of the militant Taliban group to discuss the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.

Mr Erdogan said he discussed ways with the leadership of Qatar on Wednesday on how to stop the advance of the Taliban and how they could be steered towards peace with the Afghanistan government

“The situation that the Afghan people are in is very difficult," he said. "They are experiencing troubling times with the Taliban.

“Our relevant institutions are working on it, including talks with the Taliban, and I may also receive the leader of the Taliban."

Mr Erdogan did not say which leader he would receive in Turkey or when such a meeting could occur.

Taliban fighters have taken control of provincial capitals in recent days as the US completes its plan to pull out all troops by the end of the month, before the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US.

The Taliban’s advance is putting Turkey's offer to take over the lead in securing Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport at risk.

Ankara is struggling to seal its eastern border with Iran against a rise in the number of refugees fleeing Afghanistan.

Updated: August 12, 2021, 10:33 AM