By RFE/RL’s Tajik Service
September 13, 2021
DUSHANBE — Tajik authorities say they have accepted around 100 Afghan nationals from a group of more than 200 people, including many women and children, who crossed the border overnight to flee Afghanistan because of the Taliban’s takeover of the country.
Multiple sources in the local government in Tajikistan’s southeastern district of Hamdoni told RFE/RL on September 13 that the Afghan nationals crossed the Panj River that divides the two nations.
According to the sources, some 100 Afghans were transferred to a Dushanbe suburb, while the rest were sent back to Afghanistan.
The information has not been officially confirmed.
Central Asian states bordering Afghanistan have been concerned about security threats emanating from the war-torn country and the potential for tens of thousands of refugees to pour over the border.
Last week, the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) held military exercises in another Central Asian nation — Kyrgyzstan — to prepare for any possible trouble. CSTO members include Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.
In August, Tajikistan held military maneuvers with Russia and Uzbekistan, while Uzbekistan held separate drills with Russia along the Uzbek-Afghan border.
The CSTO has scheduled three more sets of military maneuvers close to the Tajik-Afghan border in October, with a fourth scheduled for November.
The Taliban has sought to reassure neighboring countries and Russia that it poses no threat since gaining control last month over almost all of Afghanistan’s territory, including Kabul, the capital.
Russia, which has military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, has vowed to defend Moscow’s allies in Central Asia against any security threat from Afghanistan.