Taliban claim to control parts of Kabul airport

A Taliban spokesperson has told NHK the group has taken control of parts of Kabul's international airport that were vacated by the US military.

Zabihullah Mujahid made the comment on Sunday, two days ahead of the August 31 deadline for the ongoing US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Mujahid said the Taliban are optimistic about the complete pullout of foreign forces from the airport. He added that the group will put the entire airport under its control in the near future.

The Taliban are calling for the withdrawal of not only US forces but also staff from NATO member countries, who have been managing air traffic control, security and other duties at the airport.

However, the Taliban are believed to be short of trained personnel who can operate the airport, prompting some in the US government to question whether the group can operate flights as usual from next month.

The Taliban have been seeking cooperation from Turkey, which has been involved in managing military operations at the airport.

Attention is focused on whether the Taliban can secure the necessary assistance it needs to keep the airport operating to allow airlifts of relief supplies to Afghanistan from the United Nations and other entities.