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Afghanistan Evacuees Arrive In Tajikistan, Uzbekistan

Thousands of Afghans are trying to flee the country.

Four Turkish military planes carrying troops evacuated from the country's operations in Afghanistan have landed in Tajikistan, as neighboring Uzbekistan welcomed hundreds of Afghan refugees and put them up in temporary housing on August 21.

The aircraft that landed at an airport 200 kilometers south of Dushanbe on August 20 were carrying an unknown number of troops.

A high-ranking official who spoke to RFE/RL on condition of anonymity said the Turkish troops were in transit and were not expected to remain in the country for long.

The source said that the troops were members of NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

Turkish officials have previously said that a 500-troop contingent was involved in noncombat missions in Afghanistan.

Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are among countries that have “already begun or will soon begin transiting Americans, or in some circumstances others, through their territories,” the U.S. State Department said on August 20.

Other transit countries include Bahrain, Britain, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

In Uzbekistan, 400 refugees were accepted and given accommodation on August 21, according to a source who spoke with the Russian state news agency TASS.

It is unclear how many Afghans have crossed into Uzbekistan since Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and Taliban militants arrived in Kabul on August 15.

Tashkent has denied that senior Afghan figures such as ethnic Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dostum were in Uzbekistan, despite reports that officers commanded by Dostum were in the country.

On August 20, Uzbekistan said it had sent 150 Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan under an agreement with the Taliban and at the request of the refugees themselves.

With reporting by TASS