A Taliban spokesperson on Thursday, while rejecting Turkey's proposal to guard and run Kabul's airport after U.S.-led NATO forces depart from Afghanistan, has asked Ankara to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. The U.S. forces were to exit Afghanistan completely by May 1 under the February 2020 deal secured with the Taliban under former US President Donald Trump, however, the new US president Joe Biden announced in April that the pullout would be completed by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The incident has raised serious questions for the USA as well as other countries and international organizations with missions in Kabul, who are engaged in developmental work in Afghanistan, regarding safe evacuation of their personnel from Afghanistan if civil war begins post-NATO forces exit.
The development comes at a time when Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K), the Islamic State’s offshoot in Afghanistan aiming to establish an Islamic Caliphate in South Asia governed by sharia law, is witnessing increased support from India. Formed in the year 2015, IS-K has received support from the Islamic State’s core leadership in Iraq and Syria. The operational area covered by IS-K includes a wide swathe of the corridor that stretches from Iran and Afghanistan to Pakistan and Kashmir, the region which has seen Islamic extremist insurgency thriving for decades. The anti-CAA protests of 2019-20 by Islamists in India received global support, which included Turkey too. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had arrested five accused last year in Delhi who owed allegiance to the IS-K, for allegedly conspiring to utilise the anti-CAA protests in order to instigate unrest in India against the Indian Government.