More than 1,000 Afghan soldiers have fled to neighbouring Tajikistan after clashing with Taliban militants, officials have said.
The troops retreated over the border to "save their own lives", according to a statement by Tajikistan's border guard.Violence has risen in Afghanistan and the Taliban have been making significant gains, particularly in the north of the country, in recent weeks.
The surge comes as the US, UK and allies withdraw after 20 years.
The vast majority of remaining foreign forces in Afghanistan have left ahead of a September deadline. There are concerns that the Afghan military, who were supposed to take over security in the country, will collapse.
The retreat is the third time Afghan soldiers have fled to Tajikistan over the past three days and the fifth case over the past fortnight. In total, nearly 1,600 soldiers have crossed the border.
The latest group of Afghan troops sought refuge early on Monday morning after fighting with militants during the night, Tajikistan's National Security Committee said.
Badakhshan and Takhar provinces, which border Tajikistan, have seen a rapid Taliban advance, BBC reported."The Taliban cut off all the roads and these people had nowhere to go but to cross the border," one senior Afghan official told Reuters on Monday.
President Ashraf Ghani insists that Afghan security forces are fully capable of keeping insurgents at bay, but there have also been reports of more soldiers seeking refuge in Pakistan and Uzbekistan to escape the fighting.
Neighbouring countries are bracing themselves for a potential influx of refugees if the fighting continues to intensify.