WASHINGTON: Many soldiers of the former Afghan government fled to Pakistan after the fall of Kabul, says an official US report while pointing out that the fall of border crossings into Pakistan and Iran also contributed to the collapse of the former Afghan government.

The office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction reported this week that in July 2021, the Taliban “started seizing border crossings with Pakistan and Iran, depriving the Afghan government of critical customs revenues”.

The report noted that Afghan soldiers started crossing into Pakistan weeks before Kabul fell to the Taliban in August 2021.

“Many Afghan soldiers reportedly escaped to Pakistan as the Taliban attacks on districts and provincial capitals intensified weeks before the Afghan government’s collapse,” the report added.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR reported early this year that more than 300,000 Afghans had fled to Pakistan between August 2021 and January 2022. But it did not say how many of those were from the military.

On July 26, 2021, the Associated Press news agency reported that 46 members of the Afghan forces, including five officers, crossed into Chitral.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2022

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