Iran and Turkey have closed their consulates in the Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif located in the Balk province amid growing security concerns about a resurgent Taliban.
It has also been reported that the consulates have stopped issuing visas to Afghan citizens while diplomats have been relocated to the relative safety of the capital Kabul.
Russia's TASS news agency also reported today Russia's consulate has suspended operations in the city because of the unstable situation.
Earlier reports suggested that Pakistan had closed its consulate along with Iran and Turkey, however, Pakistan's embassy in Kabul dismissed the reports yesterday as being factually incorrect. "The Embassy would like to state these reports are not factual. The Consulates General of Pakistan in Afghanistan including Mazar-e-Sharif are open and functioning normally," a statement said.
All over Afghanistan, thousands of Afghan army troops are surrendering, with their weapons and equipment, to the Afghan Taliban.
About 1000 troops have crossed over into Tajikistan and Uzbekistan seeking asylum.
The battle for Kabul will soon begin. Hedge your bets wisely… pic.twitter.com/saVHp2Ox3s
— Zaid Hamid (@ZaidZamanHamid) July 5, 2021
Yesterday Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan discussed with Iran's President-elect Ebrahim Raisi Afghanistan's "deteriorating" security situation linked to the US military withdrawal from the country. A statement by the prime minister's office said: "Khan stressed the need for a negotiated political solution to the decades-old conflict in the war-torn country".
According to local sources, eight districts in Badakhshan province were captured by the Taliban overnight, causing hundreds of Afghan government troops to flee across the border to Tajikistan.