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Uproaring fear in Tajikistan, post Taliban captured Afghanistan

Tajikistan

On the recent independence day, celebrations were done with zeal and vigour in the capital of Tajikistan with loud patriotic music. This turns out to be a sign of little solace for Abdulbashir Yasufi who is under constant threat of Taliban invading and taking over his country just like the neighboring country Afghanistan.

Yusufi escaped to the mountainous Central Asian country on Afghanistan’s doorstep last month, securing last-minute visas and flights for his family, just as the Taliban arrived at the gates of Kabul.

As the high-tempo music played in a central square of Dushanbe, the 43-year-old explained that his friends and relatives faced death at the hands of the Taliban in Panjshir, the last province to fall to the group.

“I’m so worried for them,” Yusufi, a former resident of the northern city Mazar-e-Sharif, told AFP. A doctor who worked with the German army and a British pharmaceutical firm before that, Yusufi says he cannot contemplate a return home with his family.

“If we go back to Afghanistan there is a threat to our lives,” he explained. Rather than remain in Tajikistan, Yusufi is hoping to be granted refuge in the West.

The Taliban’s rapid sweep of Afghanistan as foreign troops drew down after 20 years sparked a frenzied exodus particularly among Afghans who worked alongside foreign militaries that centred on the airport in Kabul.

Tajikistan, a secretive and authoritarian ex-Soviet state close to Russia and China, has not provided figures for the number of Afghans who have arrived there since the Taliban began its takeover in May.

But Interior Minister Ramazon Hamro Rahimzoda said earlier this month that the country could not admit around 80 Afghan families camping out on its border with Afghanistan, saying it lacked the infrastructure to house them.

Tajik leader Emomali Rakhmon then criticized international institutions for their “indifference” to the fate of Afghans, but he made no commitments to housing refugees in his own country.

For Afghans who have made it to Tajikistan, the government’s notable anti-Taliban positioning might be a good sign.

While other neighboring countries, like Uzbekistan, began developing ties with the Taliban long ago, Tajik authorities have repeatedly criticized the group and are not ready to get subjugated under its power.
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