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22 Afghan military planes, 24 choppers violate Uzbek airspace

Baku, August 17, AZERTAC

Amid the collapse of the Afghan army and government, 22 Afghan military planes as well as 24 helicopters with 548 soldiers on board violated Uzbekistan’s airspace in the past two days, Uzbek officials said Monday, according to Anadolu Agency.

The violations took place Saturday and Sunday, and three Embraer-type planes carrying 314 Afghan soldiers also sought to land at Uzbekistan’s Karshi Khanabad Airport but were rerouted to Taraz Airport in Kazakhstan instead, said Uzbekistan’s Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

An Uzbek Mig-29 warplane instructed to follow the Afghan planes collided with one of them and then crashed in the Surxondaryo region while the pilots ejected with their parachutes, it added.

The remaining Afghan aircraft with 585 soldiers were forced to land at Taraz Airport, and an investigation was launched into the incident.

The Uzbek Defense Ministry earlier announced that an Afghan military plane was prevented from violating the country's airspace near the Surxondaryo region Sunday night and that the two pilots of the downed plane were injured.

According to a video circulating on social media, two Afghan helicopters carrying over 20 soldiers landed in a cotton field in the Surxondaryo region late at night.

In the video, one of the Afghans says the Taliban captured capital Kabul and they had no other option than to flee and land in the field. At the end of the video, the Uzbek officers get on the choppers to take them to the airport.

The rapid advances of the Taliban and collapse of the Afghan government have prompted neighboring countries to seek to prevent Afghanistan’s instability from spreading.

The Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday and took control of Afghanistan.

With the collapse of the Afghan government, the safety of Afghan civilians and evacuees are now in the spotlight.

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