Top US general shocked as 1,000 Afghan soldiers surrender to Taliban; Tajikistan mobilizes 20,000 soldiers to Afghanistan border

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Hannah Wagner and Ulf Mauder

dpa

Dushanbe — The Central Asian republic of Tajikistan is mobilizing 20,000 reservists to protect its more than 900-kilometre-long border with Afghanistan.

This was ordered by President Emomali Rahmon after more than 1,000 Afghan soldiers had fled from Islamist Taliban fighters into the ex-Soviet republic by early Monday.

It was the largest number of people so far in one day to flee to safety for fear of their lives.

The Tajik border troops said they had let the people into the country as a sign of good neighbourly relations.

In the days before, Afghan government troops had already fled from the Taliban in Badakhshan province.

General Austin Scott Miller, commander of US and Nato troops in Afghanistan, said he was shocked by how quickly the Afghan National Army had surrendered to the Taliban.  

“I don’t like leaving friends in need,” he told ABC on Monday. “We should be concerned. The loss of terrain and the rapidity of that loss of terrain has to be concerning. You look at the security situation, it’s not good.”

“The Taliban are on the move. War is physical, but it’s also got a psychological or moral component, and hope actually matters. What you don’t want to have happen is that the people lose hope.”

The Islamists are on the advance in northern Afghanistan and have taken control of numerous districts there.

According to its border guards, Tajikistan has so far remained in control.

However, Russia also expressed concern about the situation. The Kremlin complained of destabilization in Afghanistan due to the withdrawal of troops by the United States and its allies.

The country, which also deploys troops in Tajikistan, held out the prospect of further support.

“If additional efforts are needed, they will be taken,” Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko was quoted as saying by Interfax agency on Tuesday.

©2021 dpa GmbH. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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