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Following clashes with Taliban insurgents, more than 1,000 Afghan soldiers have fled to Tajikistan, according to officials.

According to Tajikistan’s border guard, the troops retreated across the border to “save their own lives.” In recent weeks, the Taliban has launched strikes and taken additional land in Afghanistan, escalating the violence.

The escalation comes as Nato’s 20-year military engagement in the country comes to an end.

The large majority of foreign forces in Afghanistan have been removed ahead of a September deadline, raising fears that the Afghan military may fall apart. The US and its Nato allies agreed to remove all troops in exchange for the Taliban’s promise that they would not allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist organisation to operate in the regions they control.

However, the Taliban refused to stop fighting Afghan soldiers, and they currently control roughly a third of the nation.

According to Lyse Doucet, the BBC’s chief international correspondent, it is a dangerous time for Afghans. The Taliban, which has been accused of a variety of human rights and cultural violations, advocates Islamic punishments such as public executions of convicted murderers, as well as the prohibition of television, music, and movies, and the rejection of girls above the age of ten attending school.

However, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says that the country’s security forces are completely capable of keeping insurgents at bay, despite reports that more soldiers are fleeing the war in Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

This is the third case of Afghan soldiers fleeing to Tajikistan in the last three days, and the fifth in the last two weeks. The total number of soldiers who have fled to Tajikistan now stands at roughly 1,600.

Tajikistan’s National Security Committee stated in a statement carried by the Tajik state-run news agency Khovar that the newest set of Afghan troops sought refuge early Monday morning after fighting with insurgents during the night.

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