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6 Jul, 2021 11:48

As US withdrawal from Afghanistan proceeds, Putin offers support to Tajikistan after Kabul's troops cross border fleeing Taliban

As US withdrawal from Afghanistan proceeds, Putin offers support to Tajikistan after Kabul's troops cross border fleeing Taliban

After fierce fighting forced Afghan troops to take refuge across the border in neighboring Tajikistan, Russia has pledged its support for the former Soviet republic in securing its mountainous frontiers against further incursions.

In a statement issued by the Kremlin on Monday, officials revealed that President Vladimir Putin had raised the issue in a call with his Tajik counterpart, Emomali Rahmon. During the exchange, the Russian leader "confirmed his readiness to provide Tajikistan with the necessary support" to resolve the growing crisis. The challenges, Moscow said, have been caused "by the escalation of armed confrontation on the territory of Afghanistan."

Last week, at least 134 soldiers loyal to the government in Kabul crossed the border after coming under attack by Taliban militants. "Tajik border guards, who adhere to the principles of humanity and good neighborliness, allowed Afghan soldiers to enter the territory of Tajikistan by crossing the border without any obstacles," Tajik officials said.

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The Central Asian nation is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a mutual defense pact that is made up of six former Soviet states and headquartered in Moscow.

American forces, who have been present in Afghanistan since they invaded the country in 2001, are currently in the process of withdrawing from the region. President Joe Biden announced in the spring that all US forces on deployment there would return home by September 11, 2021, exactly two decades after the terrorist attacks that sparked the military campaign.

Over the weekend, Bloomberg reported that the White House is seeking to re-home around 9,000 Afghans who had worked with American forces as translators, drivers and in other supporting roles. However, despite fears they will be targets for reprisals, Washington is not said to be considering offering them the chance to go to the US. Instead, officials have asked nearby Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to take in the vengeance-wary Afghans.

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