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Turkey and Russia shut consulates as Taliban advance in Afghanistan

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By Euronews with AP
Afghan soldiers at the gate of a military compound after an attack by gunmen in Mazar-e- Sharif
Afghan soldiers at the gate of a military compound after an attack by gunmen in Mazar-e- Sharif   -   Copyright  Mirwais Najand/AP
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Turkey and Russia have closed their consulates in a region in northern Afghanistan, amid a Taliban advance in the region.

Across the border in Tajikistan reservists are being called up to reinforce the country’s southern border, according to officials.

The consulates were shut in Afghanistan’s fourth-largest city, Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of the northern Balkh province, following Taliban victories nearby.

While there has been fighting in Balkh province the city has so far been relatively peaceful.

Iran said it has restricted activities at its consulate in the city.

Nearly 1,000 Afghan soldiers have fled the Taliban advances by crossing the border into Tajikistan, according to reports from Tajikistan.

A statement on Monday from the Tajik government said President Emomali Rakhmon ordered the mobilisation of 20,000 military reservists to strengthen its border with Afghanistan.

The Afghan military exodus comes as the Taliban have overrun most districts in northeastern Badakhshan province.

Many fell without a fight but along the province's northern border with Tajikistan, hundreds of Afghan forces crossed over, seeking safety in Tajikistan.

Hamdullah Muhib, Afghanistan's National Security advisor, said it was natural for Tajikistan to take extra measures if they were concerned about insecurity in northern Afghanistan.

The Taliban march gains momentum only days after the United States vacated Bagram Airfield, just an hour's drive north of the capital, Kabul.

Afghan military officials accused the US of slipping away at night without informing them, shutting off the electricity as they went.

The base's new Afghan commander discovered the US forces’s departure more than two hours after they left

US president Joe Biden has committed to pull all remaining troops out of the country by September 11, and NATO allies are also pulling out.