The Taliban are offering peace talks. But more than 1,000 security guards have just fled the country – more than ever before. Tajikistan reacts.
The Central Asian Republic of Tajikistan is mobilizing 20,000 reservists to protect its more than 900 kilometers long border with Afghanistan. This was ordered by President Emomali Rahmon after more than 1,000 Afghan soldiers fled the Islamist Taliban fighters to the ex-Soviet republic on Monday night. It was the largest number of people within a day who wanted to get to safety.
The Tajik border troops announced that the people had been allowed into the country as a sign of good neighborly relations. Members of the Afghan government troops had fled the Taliban in Badakhshan province in the days before.
The Islamists are on the advance in northern Afghanistan and have taken control of numerous districts there. Tajikistan claims that it still has control of its border. Russia also expressed concern about the situation. The Kremlin laments the destabilization in Afghanistan and blames the withdrawal of US troops and their allies.
Taliban promise peace plan and talks
Despite their advance in Afghanistan, the Taliban hold out the prospect of progress in their peace efforts. “The peace talks and the process will accelerate in the coming days, and it is expected that they will enter an important phase. Of course, it will be about peace plans,” Taliban spokesman Sabihullah Mujahid told Reuters on Monday. “It may take a month to reach the stage where both sides share their written peace plan.” The latest round of talks is at a critical point. “Although we (the Taliban) have the upper hand on the battlefield, we take conversations and dialogues very seriously.”
The spokeswoman for the Afghan Ministry of Peace, Nadschia Anwari, confirmed that the talks that had been on hold had resumed. However, it is difficult to imagine that the Taliban would present a written version of their peace plan in a month. “But let’s be positive. We hope that you (them) will present so that we can understand what you want.”
Since the international troops began to withdraw from Afghanistan, the Taliban have stepped up their advance. Little by little they bring more and more areas under their control. This raises doubts as to whether they are really serious about the peace talks. The situation has recently come to a head, particularly in the north. On Sunday, more than 1,000 soldiers fled the advancing Taliban to neighboring Tajikistan, as the local border guard announced. The Afghan government’s national security advisor, Hamdullah Mohib, announced a counter-offensive.