Tajikistan says ready to accept 100,000 Afghan refugees

Tajikistan says ready to accept 100,000 Afghan refugees

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Dushanbe: Tajikistan said on Friday that it is ready to accept as many as 100,000 refugees from Afghanistan. With the withdrawal of the US-led army, the Taliban claimed to have made huge military gains.

The Central Asian countries of the former Soviet Union are cooperating with international organizations to prepare for the influx of Afghans, Emomali Ibrokhimzoda, deputy director of the Emergency Committee of Tajikistan, said at a press conference.

Ibrokhimzoda said it was “currently possible to receive and place about 100,000 refugees from Afghanistan” at military training grounds in the country.

Tajikistan is storing tents, bedding and other materials for potential refugees, Ibrokhimzoda said, adding it could absorb more refugees if necessary.

Earlier this week the Taliban claimed to be in control of over 90 percent of Afghanistan s borders — which the government dismissed as a lie on Friday.

Tajikistan shares a border of around 1,300 kilometres (810 miles) with Afghanistan. The Taliban took control of the main crossing with Tajikistan in June.

Tajikistan has provided temporary refuge for more than 1,000 Afghan government forces, who were forced to retreat under gunfire from militants.

On Thursday, it checked the readiness of its soldiers in the country’s largest such exercise in history, while Russian tanks arrived at a training ground near the Afghan border before the joint military exercise.

The tanks were deployed from Moscow’s base in Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, a neighboring country of Tajikistan, is expected to join the two countries in the exercise that began on August 5.

Russian foreign ministry official Zamir Kabulov said in a Thursday interview to the Ekho Moskvy radio station that the drills would be a “signal” to Central Asian populations that the situation in Afghanistan will not threaten the region.

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