Uzbekistan says it detains 84 Afghan servicemen who crossed border

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Uzbekistan has detained 84 Afghan military servicemen who crossed the border on Saturday, the Tashkent government said on Sunday, adding that another group of soldiers had amassed near a border checkpoint on the Afghan side.

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Afghan servicemen crossed the border into Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in a similar way last month when they retreated from the Taliban insurgents’ offensive - which has accelerated in recent days leaving little but the capital Kabul in the Afghan government’s hands.

On Sunday, insurgents took the key eastern city of Jalalabad without a fight.

Uzbekistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the first group of 84 Afghan soldiers made no attempts to resist when Uzbek border guards detained them but instead sought medical help.

The Tashkent government is also providing humanitarian aid to a group of Afghan soldiers who have amassed on the Afghan side of the Termez-Khairaton bridge, the ministry said. The bridge is a car and railway link between the two countries.

Uzbekistan is in talks with Kabul on returning the troops home and resolving the situation at the bridge, it said.

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