At least 347 refugees from Afghanistan are crossing into the Central Asian country of Tajikistan in two days, fleeing the large gains of Taliban fighters as foreign forces withdraw.
The Khovar state intelligence agency, citing Tajikistan’s border guards, said Wednesday that the refugees were “fleeing the Taliban to save their lives,” adding two children were killed during the border crossing.
Fighters in recent weeks have brought huge swathes of the country under their control as foreign troops fall.
In June, they took over the leadership of Afghanistan Shir Khan Bandar across the border from Tajikistan in northern Afghanistan about 50 km (30 miles) from the city of Kunduz.
Wednesday, they said they had taken the strategic border crossing Spin Boldak on the border with Pakistan.
However, the Afghan interior minister insisted that the armed group’s attack was repulsed and government forces had control.
Tajikistan said the refugees, which included about 64 males and 113 females, had crossed Badakhshan province into Afghanistan, bringing with them herds of cattle.
“Tajik border guards, guided by humanist principles and good neighborliness, have allowed Afghan refugees to enter,” Khovar said in a statement.
He said the group of Afghans was housed at two sites in the mountainous Murghab region east of the former Soviet country.
The border guard said they had confiscated more than 3.5 kg (7.7 pounds) of narcotics from Afghans working in Tajikistan.
The refugees brought cattle, including 300 yaks, three camels and 30 horses.
Border guards said the situation along the common border with Afghanistan was under control.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Kremlin’s envoy to Tajikistan, Zamir Kabulov, told Russian news agency RIA Novosti that Moscow was “closely following” the situation on Afghanistan’s borders with Central Asian countries. .
But he added that the Taliban have confirmed that they will not launch attacks on Afghanistan’s neighbors.
The challenge is to act seriously and sincerely on these beliefs. Because there are forces at work with a very different agenda.
The world is against the seizure of power by violence and force. He will not legitimize such actions.
– Dr. S. Marchesin (@Marchesin) July 14, 2021
Also Wednesday, foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) urged Afghan sides to stop the violence and start peace talks on the country’s future.
In a joint statement after a meeting in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, SCO foreign ministers expressed concern over the growing concentration of bandits and armed groups in the north of the country.
“One of the most important factors in preserving and strengthening security and stability in the SCO space is the first settlement of the situation in Afghanistan,” the diplomats said.
They also ordered the Afghan government to step up efforts aimed at restoring peace, the economic development of the country, and the fight against “terrorism” and drug crime.
India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Twitter: “The world is against the seizure of power by violence and force. I will not legitimize such actions. “
Recently, a video emerged that CNN broadcaster said it had verified, showing a group of Afghan commanders who were shot dead by the Taliban in June following their resignation.
On Wednesday, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters: “The video, which, I must say, we have no reason to doubt, depicts horrific scenes. The killing – in this case , the massacre – of unarmed people – is an atrocious act. It is a scandalous sight and, of course, we condemn it. “