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Taliban forces advance right up to Afghan-Tajikistani border — source

May 15, 2015, 17:15 UTC+3 DUSHANBE
Taliban units have taken control of almost 80% of Afghanistan's Badakhshan province bordering Tajikistan
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©  AP Photo/Dusan Vranic

DUSHANBE, May 15. /TASS/. Taliban units that are advancing in the territory of Afghanistan have taken control of almost 80% of Badakhshan province, which borders Tajikistan, a well-informed official at the Tajikistani intelligence services told TASS on Friday.

"At present, separate units of the terrorists have advanced right up to the Afghan-Tajikistani border and have stopped a few kilometers away from it," he said. "The fact can’t help causing concern in this country."

The information gathered by the intelligence agencies suggests these groups of radicals were stranded in the so-called tribal area in the Pakistani region of Shomali Waziristan but the Pakistani Army forced them to cross over into Afghanistan.

"Proceeding from the information we have the Talibs don’t have any plans to cross the state border into Tajikistan at the moment but nonetheless a second line of defence consisting of Tajikistani Army units has been set up along the most vulnerable sections of the border as a preventive measure," he said.

He said the presence of Islamic State supporters and emissaries in the Talib units was not ruled out, since the criminal milieu making an advance on the other side of the border had an international composition and descendants from Central Asian countries including Tajikistan as well as from some European countries were fighting in its ranks.

"We’re watching events closely and are prepared to tackle events of any kind," the official said. "We also hope to get assistance from the forces of the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization."

"At present, units and weaponry of the Collective Forces’ rapid response contingent have been airlifted to the area of the Tajikistani-Afghan border as part of an undeclared inspection of combat readiness and a subsequent antiterrorist exercise," he said.

Earlier on Friday, the independent Tajikistani news agency AsiaPlus quoted representatives of Afghan civic society who accused the government in Kabul of total lack of activity in this sphere.

The Afghan activists warned that unless the government took urgent steps, the entire Badakhshan with its million-strong population would fall under the Talibs’ control as they had concentrated substantial forces there.

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