Taliban claim Panjshir captured, resistance forces vow to carry on fighting
The Taliban said on Monday that they have "completely captured" Panjshir, the last stronghold in Afghanistan against the hardline Islamist group, after days of fighting with the resistance forces in the valley near Kabul. After the Taliban claimed they have taken over Panjshir, the anti-Taliban resistance force vowed to carry on fighting.
The Associated Press reported citing witnesses that thousands of Taliban fighters overran eight districts of Panjshir overnight. On Sunday, the Taliban tweeted that their forces had overrun Rokha district, one of the largest of eight districts in Panjshir. "With this victory, our country is completely taken out of the quagmire of war," Taliban chief spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement, reported AFP.
The Associated Press reported citing witnesses that thousands of Taliban fighters overran eight districts of Panjshir overnight. On Sunday, the Taliban tweeted that their forces had overrun Rokha district, one of the largest of eight districts in Panjshir.
Mujahid assured the residents of Panjshir that they would be safe. “We give full confidence to the honourable people of Panjshir that they will not be subjected to any discrimination, that all are our brothers, and that we will serve a country and a common goal,” Mujahid said in his statement.
The National Resistance Front said it was present in "strategic positions" across the valley and that "the struggle against the Taliban and their partners will continue". “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 ppl of Afghanistan that the struggle against the Taliban & their partners will continue until justice & freedom prevails,” it said in one of its Twitter accounts.
Resistance forces in Panjshir
The National Resistance Front in the Panjshir Valley was being led by the former vice president, Amrullah Saleh, and also Ahmad Massoud, the son of the anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud who was killed just days before the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. The Panjshir Valley in the Hindu Kush mountains held off the Soviet forces in the 1980s and also the Taliban a decade later under the leadership of Ahmad Massoud.
The war over Panjshir province escalated on Friday night and the National Resistance Front said two of its senior leaders--Fahim Dashti, the front's spokesperson, and General Abdul Wudod Zara--were killed during the fighting with the Taliban. General Wudod was the nephew of Panjshir resistance leader Ahmad Massoud. Reports also claimed that Amrullah Saleh, the acting president of Afghanistan, has moved to a safe place after a helicopter attack on his house.
"Regretfully, The National Resistance of Afghanistan lost two companions in the holy resistance against oppression and aggression today. Mr Fahim Dashty, NRF spokesperson, and General Abdul Wudod Zara were martyred. May their memory be eternal," the Afghan resistance front was quoted as saying by the Samaa News.
On Sunday, Ahmad Massoud said they are ready to cease fighting and start negotiations if the Taliban leave the province.