Kabul: The Taliban's march through northern Afghanistan gained momentum overnight with the capture of several districts from fleeing Afghan forces, several hundred of whom fled across the border into Tajikistan, officials said Sunday.
More than 300 Afghan military personnel crossed from Afghanistan's Badakhshan province as Taliban fighters advanced toward the border, Tajikistan's State Committee for National Security said in a statement. The Afghan troops crossed over at about 6:30 pm local time Saturday "Guided by the principles of humanism and good neighborliness," the Tajik authorities allowed the retreating Afghan National Defense and Security Forces to cross into Tajikistan, said the statement. Since mid-April, when US President Joe Biden announced the end to Afghanistan's "forever war," the Taliban have made strides throughout the country. But their most significant gains have been in the northern half of the country, a traditional stronghold of the US-allied warlords who helped defeat them in 2001.
The Taliban now control roughly a third of all 421 districts and district centers in Afghanistan.
The gains in northeastern Badakhshan province in recent days have mostly come to the insurgent movement without a fight, said Mohib-ul Rahman, a provincial council member. He blamed Taliban successes on the poor morale of troops who are mostly outnumbered and without resupplies.