Istanbul, Kabul ink strategic cooperation pact
KABUL: Turkey and Afghanistan on Saturday signed a strategic cooperation agreement, paving the ground for more robust trade and investment links between the two countries.
Presidents Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced signing the pact at a joint news conference after formal talks at the Presidential Palace in Kabul.
Both leaders told reporters the accord envisaged greater Turkish investment in Afghanistan’s vast mining sector. The two sides will also cooperate in areas of defence, agriculture, health, reconstruction and culture.
Erdogan told a questioner that his country would focus on long-term fundamental development projects in Afghanistan in the fields of mining, transportation and training of government personnel.
He added Turkish soldiers, operating within the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) framework in, had been maintaining security around the capital and training their Afghan partners.
For his part, Ahmadzai said his administration had asked Turkey for the supply of weapons to Afghan forces. He believed Istanbul being a major actor could use its enormous influence for dispute resolution in the region.
In response to a query, the visiting dignitary said that trilateral consultations among Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey had been a success. Pakistan’s cooperation played a key role in facilitating the recent presidential election, he insisted.
At the bilateral talks, Ahmadzai said, they discussed counter-terrorism measures. He added terrorism was a shared problem whose resolution needed a comprehensive regional strategy.
Erdogan, the first Turkish president to visit Afghanistan in 56 years, arrived in Kabul earlier in the day for talks with Ahmadzai and other high-ranking officials. He inaugurated a road constructed in Kabul with the financial support of Turkey. (Pajhwok)