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Turkmenistan deploys soldiers, heavy weaponry close to border with Afghanistan

By: The Kabul Times

KABUL: Turkmenistan has started moving heavy weaponry, helicopters, and other aircraft closer to its border with Afghanistan, and reservists are being put on alert in the capital amid deteriorating security in Afghanistan, RFE/RL reported Monday.
A senior official at a Turkmen security agency told RFE/RL that more troops from an army garrison near the city of Mary are being sent to bolster border guard units. Mary is about 400 kilometers north of Serhetabad, a major border crossing with Afghanistan.
The official, who was not authorized to speak to the media, said additional forces sent to the border include officers as well as fighter jets and helicopters, RFE/RL reported.
According to the report, in the capital, Ashgabat, reservists are being summoned to military recruiting posts and being told to stay on alert for possible quick deployment, the official said.
The orders are so far not nationwide and are limited to just Ashgabat, he said.
The Turkmen government, which is tightly controlled and highly secretive, has made no announcement about increased security. Turkmenistan shares an 800-kilometer border with Afghanistan, where the security situation has deteriorated sharply as Taliban fighters advance on provincial centers and even some border crossings.
Hundreds of Afghans, including soldiers and local police, have reportedly fled into other neighboring Central Asia countries, like Tajikistan.
Tajik officials last week announced they were sending an additional 20,000 troops to its border in response to the Taliban offensive.

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