Taliban claim full control of Panjshir; resistance forces deny, vow to carry on fighting

The Taliban said on Monday that they have “completely captured” the Panjshir province, the last stronghold against the hardline Islamist group in Afghanistan. After the Taliban claimed over Panjshir takeover, the anti-Taliban resistance forces have vowed to carry on fighting.

Asvaka news reported that the Taliban also raised their flag atop the Panjshir Governor’s office.

In a statement reported by AFP, Taliban chief spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said, “With this victory, our country has completely come out of the vortex of war.”

“We give full assurance to the honourable people of Panjshir that they will not be discriminated, they all are our brothers, and that we will serve a country and a common goal,” Mujahid added.

However, the National Resistance Front said that it was present in “strategic positions” across the province and their struggle will continue against the Taliban militants and their partners.

Taking it to Twitter, one of the NRF’s handle tweeted, “Taliban’s claim of occupying Panjshir is false. The NRF forces are present in all strategic positions across the valley to continue the fight. We assure the Afghans that the struggle against the Taliban & their partners will continue until justice & freedom prevails.”

Resistance forces in Panjshir

The National Resistance Front is led by the former Afghan vice president, Amrullah Saleh, and Ahmad Massoud, the son of the anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud who was killed days before the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US. The Panjshir Valley had earlier held off the Soviet forces in the 1980s and held the Taliban under the leadership of Ahmad Massoud.

On Friday night, the war across Panjshir valley escalated and the NRF said that two of its senior leaders; Fahim Dashti, and General Abdul Wudod Zara, the nephew of Ahmad Massoud were killed during the fighting with the Taliban forces. Reports further claim that Amrullah Saleh, has moved to a safe place after there was a helicopter attack on his house.

“Regretfully, The National Resistance of Afghanistan lost two companions in the holy resistance against oppression and aggression today. NRF spokesperson Mr Fahim Dashty and General Abdul Wudod Zara were martyred. May their memory be eternal,” the Anti Taliban front was quoted as saying by the Samaa News.

Ahmad Massoud said they are ready to cease fighting and start negotiations if the Taliban forces leave the valley.

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