TEHRAN -- Iran’s embassy in Kabul issued an advisory on Monday, calling on Iranian citizens to immediately leave the cities outside the capital of Afghanistan as the security situation in the neighboring state is deteriorating following the Taliban’s insurgency.
“It is recommended to the nationals of the Islamic Republic of Iran who live or do business in Afghan districts and cities other than the city of Kabul to immediately leave the Afghan territory,” a statement published by the embassy said.
Iranians travel to Afghanistan mostly for business as the country relies for a bulk of its imports needs on its western neighbor.
However, security in the country has deteriorated amid a renewed insurgency by the Taliban group.
Iranian customs office IRICA has already tightened restrictions on border crossings with Afghanistan although trade has been flowing into the country mainly through trucks commissioned by Afghan businesses.
The Iranian embassy statement warned against any unnecessary trips by Iranians to Afghanistan until a further notice, saying security risks in the country have increased.
It said only round trips to the capital Kabul for a short stay could be permitted and processed by the Iranian embassy in Afghanistan.
The Afghan president on Monday urged lawmakers to back a national mobilization drive against the Taliban.
“An imported, hasty” peace process — a reference to Washington’s push for negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban — “not only failed to bring peace but created doubt and ambiguity” among Afghans, Ghani said in his address to Parliament.
The Taliban are now trying to seize provincial capitals after already taking large swaths of land and scores of districts in more rural areas, as well as several key border crossings with neighboring countries.
Ghani claimed that Afghan forces are up to the task and have the “capacity” to defeat the insurgents. But in past weeks, Afghan forces have struggled against the Taliban onslaught, and have often been
left without reinforcements and resupplies.
On Sunday, the Afghan armed forces spokesman, Gen. Ajmal Omar Shinwari, told reporters that three provinces in southern and western Afghanistan face critical security situations. Southern Kandahar — the birthplace of the Taliban — as well as Helmand and Herat provinces have witnessed several attacks.
Helmand provincial council chief Attaullah Afghan said the Taliban are also advancing in the provincial capital of Lashar Gah, and now have control of the city’s seventh district. On Monday, elite Afghan commando units were dispatched to Lashar Gah to help defend the city.