Bagram Air Base, located 50 miles north of Kabul and occupied by US forces and other Alliance countries, has already been abandoned.
More than a thousand Afghan government soldiers had to take refuge on Sunday night in neighboring Tajikistan after having to retreat before the savage push of the Taliban, the Tajik State National Security Committee said yesterday. According to his reports, Islamic radicals “now control 40 percent of Afghanistan,” much more than ever before in the last 20 years. ”
Nor before had the Taliban succeeded in occupying so much territory north of Afghanistan and bringing most of the border crossings with Tajikistan under their control. “In the course of the armed clashes with the Taliban, more than a thousand Afghan soldiers withdrew to save their lives across the border,” declared the Tajikistan Security Committee.
The same note states that they were allowed access to Tajik territory “taking into account good neighborly relations (…) and for humanitarian reasons”. Hundreds more Afghan soldiers are expected to arrive in Tajikistan and also in Uzbekistan. The Taliban offensive intensified when forces from several NATO countries began to withdraw their troops. Tahar and Badakhshan, both bordering Tajikistan, are the two Afghan provinces that the Taliban have managed to wrest almost entirely from Afghan troops in less than two weeks.
These two provinces were strongholds of the Northern Alliance forces, which fought against the Taliban regime in the 1990s and allied with the United States after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The Taliban never succeeded in taking them.
Afghan units that have crossed over to Tajikistan complain about the lack of support from the Kabul government by not sending reinforcements or providing air support. The exodus to Tajikistan began as early as the end of June. Detachments from Afghan border posts were the first to get to the other side when they were attacked by the Taliban.
The Bagram Air Base, located 50 miles north of Kabul and occupied by US forces and other Alliance countries, has already been abandoned. It was the nerve center of the international coalition’s operations and the largest existing military base in the entire country. Now, Islamic radicals have targeted the towns of Kunduz, besieged from the east, and Mazari Sharif. located further west, along the border with Uzbekistan.
In both cities, resistance is still being organized with volunteers and local units. In an interview with the Russian agency RIA-Nóvosti, Afghanistan’s national security adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, has announced that government forces are preparing a counteroffensive in the northern regions that are being captured by the Taliban.
These, in his words, decided to take advantage of the vacuum when US and foreign troops withdrew and launched an offensive without warning, which caught the Afghan security forces by surprise because, as I said, we expected peace, not war. «. Mohib argues that “the people of Afghanistan want to be free, the Taliban should be represented in the government, but the Afghans do not want the movement to rule the entire country and dictate how the Afghan people should live.”
In February 2020, in Doha, Washington and the Taliban leadership signed the first peace agreement in 18 years of war. It established the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and the beginning of a dialogue between Afghans after the exchange of prisoners. The United States pledged to complete its troop withdrawal before 9/11, but made everything conditional on Islamic extremists stopping attacking Afghan troops. Last month, the head of US forces in Afghanistan, General Scott Miller, did not rule out the possibility of launching airstrikes against Islamic militias.
Russia has organized several conferences in Moscow with representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban, the last one last March. Both Washington and Moscow are in favor of the future Afghan transitional executive also including the Taliban. However, the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, already affirmed then that he gives preference to another alternative, that of calling presidential elections within a period of six months, a proposal that the Taliban rejected outright.
Yesterday, the Taliban leadership warned that any international forces that remain in Afghanistan after September 11, the date set for the total withdrawal of troops, will be the target of their attacks. They launched such a notice after information appeared assuring that, in any case, about a thousand allied soldiers will stay in Kabul to protect its airport and foreign diplomatic legations. Several countries, including Russia and Iran, have already closed their consulates in Mazari Sharif in the face of the Taliban advance.
Last week, Washington asked Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to provide temporary shelter for the almost 9,000 Afghan collaborators of the US Army among assistants, translators and service personnel. Once the US troops have withdrawn from the Central Asian country, this entire contingent will become a priority target for the Taliban.
The United States launched a military operation in Afghanistan after the terrorist attack of September 11 and now the withdrawal of forces from the country is scheduled to coincide with the 20th anniversary of those attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. .