ANKARA - Turkey has extended by another year its regional command of the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, the foreign ministry said in a statement Thursday. Turkey, Nato’s sole Muslim member, has been in charge of the Kabul regional command since November 1, 2009, after an earlier eight-month stint in 2007. “Given Afghanistan’s special position for Turkey and the key role played by the Kabul regional command in bringing security and stability to Afghanistan, Turkey, which has built a close relationship with the Afghan people, has decided that the Turkish army will extend its RCC command for a year until November 1, 2013,” the ministry said.

Turkey has around 1,800 soldiers serving in the US-led Isaf in Afghanistan. Unlike its European allies, Turkey’s mission is limited to patrols and its troops do not take part in combat operations as Ankara does not allow a combat role against insurgents. It has historically close ties with Afghanistan.