Afghan security authorities said that Taliban fighters have gained control of a vital area in western Afghanistan on Thursday, which includes a major border crossing with Iran.
Taliban has continues its rapid military advances around the country.
The Taliban has overrun areas bordering five countries – Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, China and Pakistan – as it continues its rapid military advances around the country amid extraction of foreign forces after end of their 20-year intervention.
Pitched battles between Taliban fighters and Afghan government forces were also under way in the northern Balkh province bordering Uzbekistan.
Two senior security officials told Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity that the Islam Qala border crossing with Iran, located in Herat province, had fallen to the Taliban and that Afghan security and customs officials had fled across the border.
Al Alalam TV, Iran’s official Arabic language service, also reported that Afghan soldiers had entered Iranian territory via the border crossing to escape the Taliban.
Another Afghan security official said Taliban fighters had seized five districts in Herat without a fight.
Earlier this week, more than 1,000 Afghan security personnel fled into Tajikistan as the Taliban captured most of the northern province of Badakhshan, which also borders China and Pakistan.
The Taliban says it holds more than 200 districts in 34 provinces comprising over half the country. Main cities remain under government control.
The group has been gaining territory for weeks but accelerated its thrust as the United States vacated its main Afghan base, effectively ending an intervention that began with the removal of the Taliban government in 2001.
Taliban advances have been especially dramatic in northern provinces where they had long been kept at bay.
Stop-start peace talks between the government and the group remain inconclusive. Taliban delegations visited Iran on Wednesday and were in Moscow on Thursday.