Tajikistan mulls setting up camps for Afghan refugees - sources

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FILE PHOTO: Afghan Commandos arrive to reinforce the security forces in Faizabad the capital of Badakhshan province, after Taliban captured neighborhood districts of Badakhshan in recently. July 4, 2021. picture taken July 4, 2021. Afghanistan

DUSHANBE (Reuters) - Tajikistan is looking into setting up camps for potential refugees from neighbouring Afghanistan amid escalating violence across the border, government sources told Reuters on Monday.

Taliban insurgents have taken over multiple districts in northern Afghanistan, adjacent to Tajikistan, over the last few days as foreign forces withdraw, forcing hundreds of Afghan security personnel to retreat into Tajik territory.

"Tajikistan is considering the matter of housing refugees from Afghanistan on its territory," a government official said on condition of anonymity as he and others were not authorised to comment publicly.

"The issue of setting up refugee camps is being discussed with partners as well," the official said without naming the potential partners. Another source, a security official, confirmed that plans to house refugees were on the agenda.

The Tajik Foreign Ministry has declined to comment on whether Dushanbe plans to take in any Afghan citizens after being asked to do so by the United States, according to a published report. Washington has been looking for temporary accommodation for Afghans who have worked with U.S. forces and might face Taliban reprisals.

The cross-border flight by members of the Afghan security forces underlines the rapidly deteriorating situation in the country, with rapid advances by the Islamist Taliban as foreign troops near a complete withdrawal after 20 years of war.

The Taliban have ceased attacks on Western forces but continues to target Afghan government and security installations.

Peace talks between the two sides remain inconclusive.

(Reporting by Nazarali Pirnazarov; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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