Afghanistan Neighbors Raise Alarm With Russia Over Taliban Advance

A pedestrian wearing a protective mask walls past boys setting up a street stall selling masks in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Photographer: Jim Huylebroek/Bloomberg)

Afghanistan Neighbors Raise Alarm With Russia Over Taliban Advance

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Two Central Asian nations neighboring Afghanistan on Monday raised the alarm with Russia at the rapid Taliban advance in Afghanistan in the north of the country as the pull-out of U.S. troops looms.

President Vladimir Putin held separate phone talks with his counterparts from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan about the escalation in Afghanistan, the Kremlin said. The Russian leader pledged help for the Tajik authorities to deal with the increased fighting on the border area, it said on its website.

Tajikistan mobilized 20,000 extra troops to help guard the frontier with Afghanistan, the Russian news state news service RIA Novosti reported, citing the presidency.

At least 1,000 Afghan troops have been forced to retreat to Tajikistan, according to Russia’s Tass state news service. The Taliban now controls half of Afghanistan’s 400 districts, 130 of which the group has taken since April. The U.S. in mid-April announced a planned military withdrawal from Afghanistan and its forces are due to completely exit the country by Sept. 11.

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