Eurasianent says the isolated cases of Afghan government troops seeking refuge across the border in neighboring Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are now becoming a commonplace occurrence.

On the morning of June 27, an armed group of Taliban militants launched an attacked on a border checkpoint in Afghanistan’s Kaldar district, forcing 17 Afghan troops to flee into Tajikistan.  The troops reportedly entered Tajikistan through its Shahritous border outpost. The Shahritous district is in the very southwestern corner of the country, where the border intersects with Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.

This was the second time in less than a week that Afghan troops had to seek a haven on Tajik soil.  On June 22, more than 130 soldiers escaped across Sher Khan Bandar border crossing after coming under a sustained assault.  On both occasions, Tajik border personnel admitted the troops in what official statements have described as gestures of “humanity and good neighborliness.”

Meanwhile, Uzbekistan has taken a firmer line against escaping Afghan troops, warning them that they are violating international law by crossing the border without approval.

A spokesman for the presidential administration in Tashkent said on June 28 that there had been several such attempts in the previous few days.

Eurasianet notes that the only incident about which some scant details have been revealed occurred on June 23, when 53 Afghan soldiers and militiamen crossed with their weapons from Afghanistan’s Shortepa district, which lies along the Amu-Darya River, into Uzbekistan.

“Between that and today, several more such attempts were undertaken,” the spokesman, Sherzod Asadov, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.

The last one was on June 26, he said.

Asadov said that all people seeking to enter Uzbekistan have, in accordance with domestic and international law, been returned to Afghanistan.

“The inviolability of the border of Uzbekistan should not be questioned in any way,” he said.

While adopting different policies on the fugitive troops, Uzbek and Tajik authorities are coordinating to some degree in the face of the increasingly unstable situation along the border.

The Taliban have been registering notable successes or been engaged in fierce fighting across several Afghan provinces – Faryab, Jowzjan, Kunduz, Balkh, Takhlan and Badakhshan, which variously border Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, respectively.

The Taliban appeared to have been emboldened to further their momentum following the announced drawdown of the roughly 3,000 U.S. troops that remained in Afghanistan. In April, U.S. President Joe Biden said that a pullout would last until September 11 – a timeframe that he argued did not constitute a “hasty rush to the exit.”