Afghan forces reinforce defenses of border town along Uzbekistan

Amid the continued Taliban’s offensive in northern Afghanistan, hundreds of troops have been deployed to protect Hairatan, a border town along the Uzbekistan border, in the northern province of Balkh

Jul 02, 2021
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Afghan forces

Amid the continued Taliban’s offensive in northern Afghanistan, hundreds of troops have been deployed to protect Hairatan, a border town along the Uzbekistan border, in the northern province of Balkh. The town is important from a strategic perspective. 

The reinforcement came after the Taliban last week captured Sher Khan Bandar, another dry port in northern Afghanistan that lies along the Tajikistan border. 

In the last two weeks, nine out of 14 districts of Balkh province were captured by the Taliban, creating panic over the potential fall of the province. 

“The forces have been stationed at bases as close as five kilometers to the east and west of the border town,” Sayed Saadullah Hashemi, an Afghan army corps commander, was quoted as saying by TOLOnews. 

“Right now, security forces, including commandos, the border forces, the special units have created a security belt within a five kilometers area to protect the border town from all sides,” Hashemi said.

The fall of Sher Khan Bandar port to the Taliban was a big setback for the government as it lost an important customs post. Also, with the fall, the government lost control over its border with Tajikistan.

In the last few days, Hairantan hasn’t witnessed any attack by the Taliban. Officials also claimed no truck has entered the border from Uzbekistan in the last two days while normally 250 trucks cross the border to Afghanistan daily.

The continued fighting in the north has affected cross-border trade significantly, with few traders are now willing to pass their goods through fighting zones. “People are worried. One goes to Mazar (the capital of Balkh), while others go to villages,” Abdul Karim, a resident of Hairatan, was quoted as saying by TOLOnews. 

(SAM) 

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