The isolated cases in which Afghan government troops sought refuge across the border in neighboring Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are now becoming commonplace in these two countries, according to officials. Eurasianet reported. On the morning of June 27, an armed group of Taliban fighters launched an attack on a border checkpoint in the Kaldar district of Afghanistan, forcing 17 Afghan soldiers to flee, Tajikistan’s state news agency reported.
The troops entered Tajikistan through his Shahrtuz border post. The Shahrtuz district is located in the far southwest of the country, where the border with Uzbekistan and Afghanistan intersects. This was the second time in less than a week that Afghan troops had to seek refuge on Tajik soil. On June 22, more than 130 soldiers fled through the Shir Khan Bandar border crossing after an ongoing attack. “As a result of the armed clash that continued at 9 a.m. on June 22nd, 134 Afghan government troops, which could not withstand the offensive, had to withdraw … into the territory of Tajikistan,” said the Tajik security services.
The two incidents occurred in locations about 70 kilometers apart. On both occasions, Tajik border personnel admitted the troops in official statements as gestures of “humanity and good neighborliness”. Uzbekistan has taken a tougher stance against fleeing Afghan troops, warning them that they are violating international law by crossing the border unauthorized. A spokesman for the presidential administration in Tashkent said on June 28 that there had been several such attempts in the past few days.
The only incident about which little details were known occurred on June 23, when 53 Afghan soldiers and militiamen crossed with their weapons from the Afghan district of Shortepa, on the Amu Darya River, to Uzbekistan.
“In between and today several such attempts were made,” said spokesman Sherzod Asadov from the Interfax news agency. The last one was on June 26th, he said. Asadov said that all persons who tried to enter Uzbekistan were returned to Afghanistan in accordance with national and international law. “The inviolability of the Uzbek border must not be questioned in any way,” he said.
While the Uzbek and Tajik authorities have different policies towards the fleeing troops, the Uzbek and Tajik authorities are coordinating to a certain extent in view of the increasingly unstable situation along the border.
In several Afghan provinces – Faryab, Jowzjan, Kunduz, Balkh, Takhlan and Badakhshan, which border Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, respectively – the Taliban have achieved remarkable successes or engaged in fierce fighting.
The Taliban (banned in Russia) appeared to have been encouraged to further strengthen their dynamism after the announced withdrawal of the roughly 3,000 US soldiers remaining in Afghanistan. In April, US President Joe Biden said a withdrawal would last until September 11, a timeframe that he argued was not a “rush to exit.”
However, there have been repeated reports that US officials are trying to convince partners in Central Asia to provide base options to allow US forces to participate in military operations in Afghanistan if necessary. As reported, the plant is to be designed on the model of the US bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan after the attacks of September 11, 2001. These bases were evacuated in 2005 and 2014, respectively.
Defense officials in Uzbekistan showed a clear aversion to the proposal in May, although it is by no means certain that the idea has been completely removed from the table.
Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov traveled with a delegation to the US on June 27 for a working visit that should last until July 4th, it is almost certain that security will be an important part of the agenda.
However, an interview that Komilov granted US journalist Dennis Wholey before the trip should not encourage Washington. He made a firm plea that the solution to Afghanistan’s needs should not be sought by force. “We have to know about Afghanistan that there is no … military solution,” he said in the English-language interview.
Komilov argued that a return to theocratic rule imposed by the Taliban in large parts of Afghanistan in the 1990s was out of the question, but that a compromise must be sought. “We think that this problem must be resolved on the basis of a mutual compromise between the existing government and the military opposition, the Taliban and others,” he told Wholey.