The Taliban gain nearby consulates; Tajikistan strengthens its border

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – A wave of Taliban victories in northern Afghanistan has prompted some countries to close their northern Afghan consulates, while across the border in Tajikistan, reservists are called in to strengthen its southern border, according to officials and reports on Tuesday.

Nearly 1,000 Afghan soldiers fled the Taliban’s advances across the border into Tajikistan, according to reports from Tajikistan.

A statement released on Monday by the Tajik government said President Emomali Rakhmon had ordered the mobilization of 20,000 military reservists to strengthen its border with Afghanistan.

The Afghan military exodus comes as the Taliban invade most of the northeastern districts of Badakhshan province. Many districts collapsed without a fight, but along the province’s northern border with Tajikistan, hundreds of Afghan national security and defense forces have crossed the border in search of safety.

The Turkish and Russian consulates have reportedly closed in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of the northern Balkh province and the fourth largest city in Afghanistan. Iran has said it has restricted the activities of its consulate in the city. There was fighting in the province of Balkh, but the provincial capital was relatively peaceful.

The consulates of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, India and Pakistan have reduced their services, spokesman for the governor of Balkh province Munir Farhad said on Tuesday. He said Turkey and Russia had closed their consulates and their diplomats had left the city.

The Tajik government said Afghan troops were allowed to cross for humanitarian reasons, but border posts on the Tajik side controlled Tajik forces and there had been no fighting with the Taliban on the Tajik side.

The Taliban march is gathering momentum just days after the United States left Bagram Airfield, just an hour’s drive north of the capital and a sure sign that the majority of its troops had left the ‘Afghanistan.

The United States withdrew from what had been the epicenter of the US-led coalition’s nearly 20-year war in Afghanistan by cutting power and slipping into the night without warning the new Afghan commander of the base, who discovered the departure of the Americans more than two hours after their departure, according to Afghan military officials.

Meanwhile, Moscow also weighed in on Monday with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, saying there was “heightened concern” about the fighting, but that Russia was not considering sending troops to help. his former republic.

“We have said time and again that after the withdrawal of the Americans and their allies from Afghanistan, the development of the situation in that country is a matter of growing concern,” Peskov said. noting that the destabilization (of the situation) is taking place, unfortunately.

Meanwhile, Tajikistan’s official news agency Khovar counted 1,037 Afghan soldiers who entered Tajikistan as they fled for their lives. He said Monday they had used seven of the crossings along the countries’ shared border, which is 910 kilometers (565 miles) long.

The Taliban have won relentless territorial victories since mid-April, when President Joe Biden announced that the last 2,500 to 3,500 American troops and 7,000 NATO allies would leave Afghanistan.

Most have already left quietly, well before the deadline announced in September. The full withdrawal is not expected to be completed until the end of August, when agreements to protect Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul are reached.

Meanwhile, months-long peace talks in Qatar between the Taliban and a fractured Afghan government have all but come to a halt even as both sides say they want a negotiated end to the decades-long conflict.

With their victories in northern and southern Afghanistan, the Taliban put pressure on provincial towns and take control of the main transport routes.

The Afghan government has resurrected militias mostly loyal to Kabul’s allied warlords, but with a history of brutal violence that raised the specter of a civil war similar to the fighting that devastated Kabul in the early 1990s.

The Taliban’s victories in northern Afghanistan are particularly significant as this part of the country is the traditional stronghold of allied warlords with the United States and the scene of the Taliban’s first widespread losses in 2001 when the coalition led by the United States. United States has launched its battle to overthrow the religious movement.


Associated Press editors Daria Litvinova and Jim Heintz in Moscow and Tameem Akhgar in Kabul, Afghanistan contributed to this report.

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