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Alarmed at Taliban gains, Tajikistan deploys 20,000 troops on border

AT News

KABUL: Tajikistan has deployed 20,000 soldiers along the border with Afghanistan as Taliban insurgents have made advances in the north and northeastern areas especially in Kunduz, Takhar and Badakhshan provinces which are bordering the Central Asian state.

Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon who is also commander-in-chief of the country’s military forces, ordered the deployment of the troops on Monday, July 05.

Rahmon called the situation in Afghanistan as worrying.

The decision is made just days after President Ghani’s national security adviser’s trip to Dushanbe, where Hamdullah Moheb met Tajik officials and spoke about the current situation in Afghanistan.

President Ghani also made a phone call to President Rahmon of Tajikistan, in which, the latter shared his concerns about security in the region with Afghan leader.

Some 1,600 Afghan soldiers crossed the border and entered Tajik soil since June 22, according to Tajikistan officials.

Mohammad Zaher, a border guard commander in Badakhshan’s district of Khawahan was one of them who fled to the neighboring country along with his 100 comrades on Sunday.

“The public uprising forces dealt with Taliban and handed over a battalion to the insurgents,” Zaher told media in Tajikistan. The Afghan troops who have fled to Tajikistan are held in a border area. Zaher said he and his comrades handed their weapons to Tajikistan border guards.

“We are waiting for the Afghan and Tajik officials’ decision about us.”

Officials in Kabul do not comment about the desertion of security forces and their fleeing to Tajikistan.

Afghanistan shares 1,400 kilometer long border with Tajikistan. Taliban are controlling some 900 kilometer long of the border line, according to officials in Tajikistan.

Separately, Russia that backs Rahmon’s government in Tajikistan has assured of further support to Tajikistan forces along the Afghan border if the situation gets worse.

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