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A thousand Afghan soldiers took shelter in Tajikistan overnight from Sunday to Monday after fighting in northeastern Afghanistan with the Taliban, which continues to gain ground.
After clashes in northeastern Afghanistan with the Taliban, a thousand Afghan soldiers fled to Tajikistan on the night of Sunday 4 July to Monday 5 July.
This massive exodus of Afghan soldiers comes at the end of a new weekend of fighting, especially across northern Afghanistan where the Taliban seized dozens of districts in a short time, raising fears of a collapse of the Afghan army.
In reaction, Tajikistan mobilized its troops in order to “strengthen” the border, while Moscow for its part announced the temporary closure of one of its consulates in northern Afghanistan due to the deterioration of the situation on the border. square.
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No air support
“They did not want to surrender. They had asked for reinforcement, but their request was ignored,” Abdul Basir, a military member of a battalion based in the Afghan province of Badakhshan, bordering Tajikistan, told AFP. some of whom have crossed the border. “We will fight to the death if the government supports us,” he continued, stressing that his battalion had suffered heavy losses previously, for lack of having already received the requested air support.
On Friday, American and NATO troops, who have been fighting the Taliban for 20 years in Afghanistan, announced that they had left their main facility there, the Bagram air base, the nerve center of the international coalition’s operations, a prelude to the final withdrawal. American soldiers from the country, expected by the end of August.
On Monday, the State Committee for National Security – the Tajik security service – said in a statement quoted by the state-run Khovar News Agency that “1,037 Afghan government troops have retreated to the territory of Tajikistan. to save their lives after armed clashes with the Taliban “. He adds that “Taliban fighters have taken full control” of six districts of Badakhshan province, which borders Tajikistan for 910 km.
Several hundred Afghan soldiers had already crossed the border with Tajikistan to flee the Taliban offensive in recent weeks. Tajikistan has always let them pass, citing “the principle of good neighborliness and respect for the position of non-interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan”.
Since the end of June, the Taliban have already held the main border post with Tajikistan and the other passageways to this country, as well as the districts leading to the large Afghan city of Kunduz, capital of the province of the same name, located at a distance of about fifty kilometers from the Tajik border.
Faced with the situation, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon ordered the “mobilization of 20,000 reservists to strengthen the border,” according to a statement released on Monday.
Power blow in Kabul
The Taliban have stepped up their offensives against the Afghan army since the start, in May, of the final withdrawal of American soldiers from Afghanistan. Faced with the successive debacles recorded by the Afghan army, in particular in the northern provinces, the head of the American forces in Afghanistan, General Scott Miller, did not rule out air strikes against the Taliban at the end of June. But the United States has not slowed the pace of its withdrawal.
For his part, the national security adviser of Afghanistan, Hamdullah Mohib, assured the Russian news agency RIA Novosti that a counter-offensive was in preparation.
Faced with soldiers now deprived of crucial American air support, the Taliban have intensified their offensives in the north in recent days, seizing the bulk of the provinces of Badakhshan and Takhar, where government troops are now barely in control. than the provincial capitals.
These two provinces were part of the strongholds of the forces of the Northern Alliance, opposed during the 1990s to the Taliban regime, which had never been able to seize them. The speed and ease with which the Taliban insurgents have seized these provinces this time is a very heavy psychological blow to the Afghan authorities.
At the same time, the Taliban have also drawn closer in recent days to the capitals of the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand, two of their traditional strongholds, seizing surrounding districts.