Turkey, U.S. defence chiefs hold 'constructive and positive' meeting on Kabul airport

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NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels

ANKARA (Reuters) -Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and his U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin on Wednesday had a "constructive and positive meeting" to discuss a plan for Turkey to operate and guard Kabul airport after the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Turkish defence ministry said.

Ankara has offered to run and guard the airport after NATO's withdrawal, and has been in talks with allies, namely the United States, on financial, political and logistical support. Security of the airport is key for the operations of diplomatic missions out of Afghanistan after the withdrawal.

The Pentagon said in a statement that Austin and Akar discussed the drawdown of the U.S. forces from Afghanistan and both "reasserted the importance of adequate security" at the airport. It said the two agreed to speak again in the near future.

The talks would continue on Thursday, the Turkish statement said.

(Reporting by Ece ToksabayEditing by Chris Reese)

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