More than 1,000 Afghan soldiers fled to nearby Tajikistan after clashing with Taliban militants, officials said.
According to a statement from the Tajikistan border guard, troops withdrew across the border to “save their lives.”
Violence is on the rise in Afghanistan, and the Taliban have seen a significant increase in recent weeks, especially in the northern part of the country.
The surge will occur as the United States, the United Kingdom, and allies withdraw 20 years later.
The majority of foreign troops remaining in Afghanistan have left before the September deadline. There is concern that the Afghan army, which was supposed to take over the security of the country, will collapse.
Under an agreement with the Taliban, the United States and its NATO allies have agreed to withdraw all troops in exchange for extremist commitment to not allow extremist groups to operate in areas they control. did.
However, the Taliban did not agree to stop fighting the Afghan army and are now reportedly in control of about one-third of the country.
This withdrawal is the third time Afghan soldiers have fled to Tajikistan in the last three days and the fifth in the last two weeks. A total of about 1,600 soldiers crossed the border.
According to the Tajikistan National Security Commission, the latest group of Afghan troops called for evacuation early Monday morning after fighting militants in the middle of the night.
The Taliban are making rapid progress in Badakhshan and Tajikistan, which border Tajikistan.
“The Taliban blocked all roads and these people had no choice but to cross the border,” an Afghan official told Reuters Monday.
Badakhshan lawmaker Zabihullah Atiq said the troops used different routes to escape. The Tajik border guard said shelters and food were provided to Afghan soldiers, but no further details were available.
Military morale declines as violence spreads
Kawoon Khamoosh, BBC News
With a new surge in national violence, Afghan troops are facing unprecedented levels of combat in the absence of foreign troops.
Government officials are tweeting non-stop to keep soldiers motivated by the underlying sacrifice. However, many of the military motives have disappeared in the news of withdrawals, major district collapses, and casualties.
Kabul military officials talked about “tactical withdrawals” every time the armed groups benefited, but heard from battlefield commanders about lack of ammunition and delays in sending assistance.
In Badakhshan, where the government recently lost important territory, local sources say many senior government officials “escaped” to Kabul before the Taliban attacked.
Not only does this discourage soldiers, but it raises a greater issue of high-ranking loyalty in peace negotiations. If a full-scale civil war breaks out, will political leaders whose families already live abroad remain in the country?
President Ashraf Ghani claims that Afghan security forces are capable of completely blocking armed groups, but there are reports that more soldiers are seeking evacuation from Pakistan and Uzbekistan to escape combat.
Neighboring countries are preparing for a potential influx of refugees as the fighting intensifies.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told the BBC that the group is not responsible for the recent increase in violence... He claimed that many districts fell into the Taliban through mediation after Afghan soldiers refused to fight.
It’s a worrying time for the Afghan people, says Lyse Doucet, an international correspondent for the BBC. Taliban, accused of various human rights and cultural abuses, upheld Islamic punishment, including the public execution of convicted murderers, banned television, music and movies, and went to school for girls over the age of 10. Supports the disapproval of.
“They are uncertain about their lives and the future of their families,” she says.
25-year-old Zara, who lives in Kabul, is one of those who are worried about the future.
“People are expecting a wider war than ever before. Many people in Kabul are afraid that the Taliban may arrive at us at any time,” she said. World Service Radio BBCOS.
Jamshid, a student at Kabul University, said he would not stay in the country if the Taliban came to power.
There is also growing concern about how to protect Afghanistan’s diplomatic mission.
Russia announced on Monday that it had temporarily suspended operations at the consulate in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif due to deteriorating security conditions. Special Envoy Zamir Kavlov said the situation became unstable because there were too many areas where Afghan troops surrendered.
Turkey and Iran also reportedly stopped working in the city and moved diplomats to Kabul.
US-led troops expelled the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in 2001. The group contained Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda figures associated with the 9/11 attack in the United States that caused the invasion. However, it gradually regained enough power to reoccupy the territory.
The Taliban met directly with the United States in 2018, and President Joe Biden justified the withdrawal of the United States as the U.S. military confirmed that Afghanistan could not become a base for foreign jihadists to plot against the West again. Said that it would be.
However, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai told the BBC that he believed that NATO and US military missions had failed to defeat terrorism and extremism.
He called on both the Afghan government and the Taliban to “sit and talk as soon as possible for peace.”