An Afghan security man stands guard at the site of a car bomb 
attack in Kandahar on Tuesday.
An Afghan security man stands guard at the site of a car bomb attack in Kandahar on Tuesday.
—AFP

Kathy Gannon

Kabul

A surge of Taliban wins in northern Afghanistan has caused some countries to close their north Afghan consulates, while across the border in Tajikistan reservists are being called up to reinforce its southern border, according to officials and reports on Tuesday.

Nearly 1,000 Afghan soldiers fled the Taliban advances by crossing the border into Tajikistan, according to reports from Tajikistan.

A statement from the Tajik government said President Emomali Rakhmon has ordered the mobilisation of 20,000 military reservists to strengthen its border with Afghanistan.

The Afghan military exodus comes as Taliban overrun most districts in northeastern Badakhshan province. Many of the districts collapsed without a fight but along the province’s northern border with Tajikistan, hundreds of Afghan National Security and Defence Forces crossed the border seeking safety.

The consulates of Turkey and Russia have reportedly closed in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, and Afghanistan’s fourth-largest city. Iran said it has restricted activities at its consulate in the city. There has been fighting in Balkh province, but the provincial capital has been relatively peaceful.

The consulates of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, India and Pakistan have reduced their services, Balkh provincial governor’s spokesman Munir Farhad said Tuesday. He said Turkey and Russia had closed their consulates and their diplomats had left the city. The Tajik government said Afghan troops were being allowed to cross on humanitarian grounds but the border posts on the Tajik side were in control of Tajik forces and there was no fighting with Taliban from the Tajik side.

77 Taliban militants killed in Afghan airstrikes

Over 77 Taliban militants were killed as the Afghan Air Force has intensified airstrikes across the war-torn country, conducting multiple raids on insurgent positions, the Ministry of Defence confirmed on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, 35 militants were killed following a pre-dawn airstrike in surrounding areas of Alishing district of Laghman provi­n­ce, the Ministry said in a statement.

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