Hundreds of Afghan government troops have fled the Taliban since Saturday to neighboring Tajikistan. In the northern Afghan province of Badachsjan, the Taliban took control of at least ten districts over the weekend, most without a fight.
Many other Afghan soldiers have fled to the provincial capital Faizabad, but the fall of that city also appears imminent. An employee of a humanitarian organization told German news agency DPA that everyone is trying to escape as quickly as possible.
Provincial officials have also fled. Morale among government forces and administrators is low, according to an officer who remained in post. In addition, where fighting takes place, the Taliban are still in the majority and better equipped.
The departure of Western soldiers and the rapid advance of the Taliban also caused panic in other parts of Afghanistan for several days. Not only soldiers, but also civilians are fleeing. Neighboring countries Pakistan and Tajikistan are bracing for a large influx of refugees.
On Friday, the Americans completed the evacuation of Bagram Air Base, 50 kilometers north of Kabul, which had been their main base for 20 years. President Biden announced the departure of all Americans effective September 11. In reality, it appears to be only a matter of days before all Americans have left except for the hundreds of soldiers who remain behind to guard the embassy in Kabul.
Dutch soldiers have also been active in Afghanistan for 20 years. A glimpse of 20 years in exactly 4 minutes: