Afghanistan: Soldiers flee to Tajikistan after militant clashes

More than 1,000 Afghan soldiers have fled to neighbouring Tajikistan after clashing with Taliban militants, officials have said.

The troops retreated over the border to “save their own lives”, according to a statement by Tajikistan’s border guard.

Violence has risen in Afghanistan, with the Taliban launching attacks and taking more territory in recent weeks.

The surge coincides with the end of Nato’s 20-year military mission in the country.

The vast majority of remaining foreign forces in Afghanistan have been withdrawn ahead of a September deadline, and there are concerns that the Afghan military will collapse.

Under a deal with the Taliban, the US and its Nato allies agreed to withdraw all troops in return for a commitment by the militants not to allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist group to operate in the areas they control.

But the Taliban did not agree to stop fighting Afghan forces, and now reportedly controls about a third of the country.

For the people of Afghanistan, it is a worrying time, says Lyse Doucet, the BBC’s chief international correspondent. The Taliban, which has been accused of various human rights and cultural abuses, supports Islamic punishments – such as public executions of convicted murderers – as well as banning television, music and cinema, and disapproving of girls over 10 going to school.

“They are uncertain about where their country is heading, uncertain about their own village or town or city, and uncertain about their own lives and the futures of their families,” she said.

But Afghan President Ashraf Ghani insists that the country’s security forces are fully capable of keeping insurgents at bay, however there have also been reports of more soldiers seeking refuge in Pakistan and Uzbekistan to escape the fighting.


Ray Charles Marfo

Digital Marketing and Brands Expert

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