Amid rising Taliban wins, consulates shut down

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

Nearly 1,000 Afghan soldiers have fled the Taliban advances by crossing the border into Tajikistan, according to reports from Tajikistan. A statement on Monday from the Tajik government said President Emomali Rakhmon ordered the mobilisation of 20,000 military reservists to strengthen its border with Afghanistan.

The Afghan military exodus comes as the Taliban have overrun most districts in northeastern Badakhshan province. Many fell without a fight but along the province’s northern border with Tajikistan, hundreds of Afghan forces crossed over, seeking safety in Tajikistan.

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, said Balkh Provincial Governor’s spokesman Munir Farhad. He said Turkey and Russia had closed their consulates and their diplomats had left the city.

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