On Taliban's Panjshir claim, Massoud calls for ‘national uprising’: 10 points
The Taliban have claimed victory in the last part of Afghanistan still holding out against their rule, by declaring that the Panshir valley is now under their control. The resistance forces, however, have said that the fight is still not over.
Pictures on social media showed Taliban members standing in front of the gate of the Panjshir provincial governor's compound after days of fighting with the National Resistance Front (NRF), commanded by Ahmad Massoud, the son of Afghanistan's legendary guerrilla commander commander Ahmad Shah Massoud.
Ahmad Massoud, meanwhile, called for a "national uprising" against the Taliban.
Here are the latest developments on the ongoing war in Panjshir:
1. The Taliban have prohibited Afghan news media from circulating Massoud's message.
2. Russian news agency Sputnik further said that the Taliban have also prevented former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and former chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah from meeting with their fellow citizens.
3. Meanwhile, in an audio message, Massoud called for national uprising against the Taliban. "Wherever you are, inside or outside, I call on you to begin a national uprising for the dignity, freedom and prosperity of our country," according to Al Jazeera, which reported aboud Massoud's message.
4. The region has witnessed heavy conflict between the warring sides in the past four days. Panjshir has been the stronghold of the National Resistance Front, led by Ahmad Massoud and former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who declared himself caretaker president.
5. Panjshir was the base of the Northern Alliance resistance fighters who toppled the Taliban with US air support in 2001 after the September 11 attacks on the United States.
6. On Sunday, Massoud said that he was ready to cease fighting and start negotiations if the Taliban abandoned the province.
7. The Taliban have assured the people of the valley - who are ethnically distinct from the mainly Pashtun group - that there would be no "discriminatory act against them". But the situation on the ground punches holes in those promises.
8. Panjshir resistance spokesperson Fahim Dashti was reported dead in a clash with the Taliban on Sunday.
9. Taliban are busy in the formation of a government to rule Afghanistan, with their spokesperson saying the leadership will be announced soon.
10. Asked whether the United States would recognise the Taliban, President Joe Biden told reporters at the White House late Monday: “That’s a long way off." US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin met Qatar's ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Monday, as Washington seeks to build a consensus among allies on how to respond to Taliban rule.