Tajikistan takes in over 1,000 Afghan refugees

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DUSHANBE (Reuters) - Tajikistan has taken in more than 1,000 civilian refugees fleeing the violence in Afghanistan's Badakhshan province across the border, the government of Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhshan province said on Wednesday.

The announcement was the first official statement from Tajikistan confirming that fighting between the government forces and Taliban militants in northern Afghanistan was provoking a fresh wave of civilian exodus from the area.

The refugees, most of them women, children, and elderly people, have been placed in "safe locations", it said in a statement, adding that the authorities were in talks with United Nations agencies and the Aga Khan Health Services agency regarding the provision of food and healthcare for them.

Tajikistan has also temporarily taken in hundreds of Afghan servicemen who retreated from their positions in northern provinces where most of the territory appears now to be under Taliban control.

The security situation in Afghanistan has rapidly deteriorated this month as foreign troops are withdrawing after 20 years.

(Reporting by Nazarali Pirnazarov; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Peter Graff)

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