The Taliban's march through northern Afghanistan gained momentum with the capture of several districts from fleeing Afghan forces, several hundred of whom fled across the border into Tajikistan, the Associated Press has reported.
More than 300 Afghan military personnel crossed from Afghanistan's Badakhshan province as Taliban fighters advanced toward the border, AP quoted Tajikistan's State Committee for National Security as saying.
"Guided by the principles of humanism and good neighborliness," the Tajik authorities allowed the retreating Afghan National Defense and Security Forces to cross into Tajikistan, said the statement. Since mid-April, when US President Joe Biden announced the end to Afghanistan's "forever war," the Taliban have made strides throughout the country. But their most significant gains have been in the northern half of the country, a traditional stronghold of the US-allied warlords who helped defeat them in 2001.
Hundreds of Afghan army, police and intelligence troops surrendered their military outposts and fled to the Badakhshan provincial capital of Faizabad, said Rahman.
The areas under Taliban control in the north are increasingly strategic, running along Afghanistan's border with central Asian states. Last month the religious movement took control of Imam Sahib, a town in Kunduz province opposite Uzbekistan and gained control of a key trade route.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the fall of the districts and said most were without a fight. The Taliban in previous surrenders have shown video of Afghan soldiers taking transportation money and returning to their homes.
Tajikistan mobilizes 20,000 reservists to bolster border with Afghanistan
Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon has mobilized 20,000 military reservists to help bolster the border with Afghanistan, Reuters reported on Monday.
This comes as more than 1,000 members of the Afghan security force have fled to the country due to advances by the Taliban.
The organization has taken over six districts in the northern province of Badakhshan, which borders Tajikistan and China, which led to 1,037 Afghan service members moving across the border in Tajikistan, its border guard service told Reuters.
Rahmon has called multiple world leaders, including Russian President Vladamir Putin and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, to discuss the situation.
According to a statement by Russia, Putin told Rahmon he will support Tajikistan if needed to stabilize its border.
"Special attention was paid to the escalation of the situation in Afghanistan's northern areas adjacent to Tajikistan," Rahmon's office said in a statement.
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