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Fleeing the Taliban, Afghans walk through Iran to reach Turkey

An internally displaced Afghan family walks with their belongings after fleeing from Jaghori district to escape ongoing battles between Taliban and Afghan security forces, in Ghazni on November 13, 2018 [ZAKERIA HASHIMI/AFP via Getty Images]
An internally displaced Afghan family walks with their belongings after fleeing from Jaghori district to escape ongoing battles between Taliban and Afghan security forces, in Ghazni on November 13, 2018 [ZAKERIA HASHIMI/AFP via Getty Images]

Afghans are paying people smugglers to take them to Turkey as foreign troops withdraw from the country and the Taliban continues to gain ground, media reports have claimed.

According to the Turkish news site, many Afghans have been forced to flee violence, some of them making the decision to leave the country, crossing into Turkey, after travelling through Iran on foot.

At least 500 Afghans have entered Turkey from Iran every day over the past few weeks, the reports claim.

Speaking to the Guardian at the Iranian-Turkish border one Afghan woman said: "My husband died fighting the Taliban in Ghazni … There are fierce battles there now. We used the mountain road [to Iran] and got stopped by Turkish soldiers at the border, but they let us go. We have walked for days … My children are getting sick. It's a very difficult situation."

Independent Turkish journalist Rusen Takva filmed 50 Afghans as they arrived on foot in the Turkish district of Ozalp. "There's a war. The Taliban took villages and we fled," one of them says.

Commenting on the plight of Afghans as US troops withdraw, Doha based researcher Abdul Warris Khan told MEMO: "Many will remember the Taliban's domination of the country prior to the US invasion of in 2001 when rules in place banned women from going out alone, girls from attending schools, forced unmarried women to marry fighters. The group seems unstoppable now, and the dark days are reemerging." he also added.

READ: Turkey can help stabilise Afghanistan, expert says

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