The Taliban yesterday captured Afghanistan’s main border crossing with Tajikistan with Afghan security forces abandoning their posts and some fleeing across the border.      

As a result of Taliban’s attack on Sher Khan Bandrar, many Afghan government servicemen were wounded and killed and more than 130 other Afghan servicemen cross the border into Tajik territory, the State Committee for National Security of Tajikistan (SCNS) said in its statement released yesterday afternoon.  

The Afghan servicemen reportedly crossed the border into Tajikistan in areas patrolled by 3rd and 4th frontier posts of the border unit “Panj” deployed in Khatlon province.  

“Guided by the principles of humanism and good neighborliness, Tajik border guards allowed the Afghan military to cross into Tajikistan without hindrance.  There are four wounded and one killed among the Afghan military,” the statement says. 

SCNS notes that the situation along the Tajik-Afghan border is assessed as tense and a total number of Afghan security forces wounded, killed and captured in Sher Khan Bandar is up to 100 people. 

According to the confirmed information, over the past ten days, clashes between government forces and Taliban militants have been going on in four Afghan provinces bordering Tajikistan.  To-date, Chahab, Yangi Qala, Darkad, Dasht-e Qala and Khajaghar districts in Takhar province and Dasht-e Archi, Imam Sahib and Qala-ye Zal in Kunduz province as well as Sher Khan Bandar and Kakul border crossing have fallen in the hands of the Taliban. 

The Taliban has taken control of dozens of districts across the country in recent weeks. Taliban successes are partially due to the ongoing withdrawal of international forces from the country, which had supported government forces in engagements.  Armed clashes are likely to continue indefinitely.

The seizure of Sher Khan Bandar is the most significant gain for the Taliban since the US began the final stage of its troop withdrawal in May.

The attack comes as the UN special envoy on Afghanistan warned that Taliban fighters have taken more than 50 of 370 districts in the country since May and that increased conflict “means increased insecurity for many other countries, near and far”.

“Those districts that have been taken surround provincial capitals, suggesting that the Taliban are positioning themselves to try and take these capitals once foreign forces are fully withdrawn,” the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Deborah Lyons told the UN Security Council.