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Taliban capture Afghan border crossings with five countries

Taliban capture Afghan border crossings with five countries
July 9, 2021

KABUL (Reuters) – Taliban fighters seized control on Thursday of a key district in western Afghanistan that includes a major border crossing with Iran, Afghan security officials said, as the Islamist insurgents continued their rapid military advances around the country.

In the last week, the Taliban have overrun areas bordering five countries – Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, China and Pakistan – as foreign forces end their two-decade intervention and the domestic security situation deteriorates.

Pitched battles between Taliban fighters and Afghan government forces were also underway in the northern Balkh province bordering Uzbekistan.

Two senior security officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the Islam Qala border crossing with Iran, located in Herat province, had fallen to the Taliban and that Afghan security and customs officials had fled across the border.

Al Alalam TV, Iran's official Arabic language service, also reported that Afghan soldiers had entered Iranian territory via the border crossing to escape the Taliban. Tariq Arian, spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry, denied the reports and said the border crossing was still under the control of government forces.


The Russian-led CSTO military bloc said on Thursday it was ready to mobilise its full capacity if the situation on Tajikistan's border with Afghanistan deteriorated as a Taliban delegation in Moscow told Russia it did not pose a threat to the region.

The CSTO, the six-nation Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) dominated by Russia, said on Thursday it was ready to use all its resources if necessary to contain a crisis on the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, the Interfax news agency reported.

The CSTO's statement came as a Taliban delegation in Moscow held talks with Russian officials and sought to reassure their hosts that the group would not attack the Tajik border or use Afghanistan as a platform in future to launch attacks against Russia itself.

Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement it had told the Taliban delegation that it was concerned by escalating tensions in northern Afghanistan and did not want any fighting to spill over into other countries.

The ministry said it had received assurances from the Taliban that the group would not violate other countries' borders in the region and that the Taliban had guaranteed the safety of foreign diplomatic missions inside Afghanistan.

It cited the Taliban as saying it wanted a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan and had promised to respect human rights, including those of woman, "within the framework of Islamic norms and Afghan traditions."

It said the Taliban had also pledged to fight against the threat posed by Islamic State in Afghanistan and to uproot drug production.

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