Kunduz, Afghanistan: Afghan soldiers described taking wounded comrades across the border to Tajikistan after being abandoned by the commander when the Taliban occupied a key border crossing.
These soldiers were part of more than 1,000 people who fled to Tajikistan when the insurgents occupied Shir Khan Bandar at the end of June. They had a social talk with AFP this week after flying back to Afghanistan.
As they spoke, the Taliban were advancing in Afghanistan and now claim to control 85% of the country.
Their most recent offensive began in early May, when the United States and NATO began their final withdrawal after the September 11 attack triggered a 20-year occupation.
The Taliban and the government were supposed to agree on the country’s political road map during the peace talks in Doha, but after months of stalemate, they basically ended in failure, and the insurgents now seem to be setting their sights on military victory.
The progress of the Taliban has raised concerns that without the vital air support provided by the Americans, the Afghan security forces could quickly lose morale and collapse.
Mehrullah, who like many Afghans uses only one name, was part of a battalion of around 1,000 soldiers defending the border crossing with Tajikistan near Kunduz city, in the far north.
“We were under siege in Shir Khan Bandar for a week. Our supply route was cut off,” said the 27-year-old, who spoke of confusion and a lack of communication between units on the ground.