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TAJIKISTAN began a large military drills close to its border with Afghanistan today as the Taliban continues to make sweeping territorial gains.
The Islamists claim to now be in control of 90 per cent of the country’s borders, triggering fear among Afghanistan’s neighbours.
More than 230,000 Tajik troops were mobilised to the border area with reservists also called to join the military exercises.
“The situation in our neighbouring country — the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, especially in its northern regions that border our country — remains extremely complex and uncertain,” Tajik President Emomali Rahmo said.
Large numbers of Afghan soldiers have fled across the border into Tajikistan to escape the Taliban which is making rapid advances after the withdrawal of US and Nato forces.
Civilians are forming their own defence forces to repel the Taliban. Earlier this month hundreds of armed women took to the streets of central and northern Afghanistan in an act of defiance.
Fears are growing that the Islamists could seize power some 20 years after they were ousted in a US invasion and subsequent occupation.
Peace talks between Taliban and Afghan government representatives in Qatar have failed to make much progress, but are set to continue.
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