Taliban claim to have captured Panjshir, Resistance leaders deny
Anti-Taliban force leader Amrullah Saleh told Tolo News the battle is still going on and he is still in Panjshir contrary to the claims that Saleh has fled to Tajikistan in the face of defeat.
The Taliban on Friday claimed that they have taken full control of Afghanistan 'by the grace of Allah almighty', defeating the Panjshir resistance, Reuters reported quoting three Taliban sources. "By the grace of Allah Almighty, we are in control of entire Afghanistan. The troublemakers have defeated and Panjshir is now under our command," said one Taliban commander. However, Resistance leaders claimed that the fighting was still on.
While the forces have been clashing sporadically for the past two weeks, an intense clash between the Taliban and the Resistance Front has been continuing for the last four days. On Thursday night, the fight escalated prompting former president Hamid Karzai to appeal to both the warring sides to stop clashing as more bloodshed is not of any service to Afghanistan and Afghan people.
Amid the ongoing clash, reports claimed that Panjshir Resistance leader Amrullah Saleh has fled to Tajikistan. In a video, Amrullah Saleh clarified that he was still in Panjshir and the clashes between the Resistance Front were ongoing.
A Twitter handle apparently belonging to Panjshir leader Ahmad Massoud also claimed that the news of the Panjshir conquest, circulating on Pakistan media, is a lie. "Conquering Panjshir will be my last day in Panjshir, inshallah," he wrote.
Reports said that the Taliban joined hands with al-Qaida to attack the so-far impenetrable province of Afghanistan. "Al-Qaida militant units are joining the Taliban in attacking Panjshir," Al Arabiya TV channel reported.
Amrullah Saleh too corroborated al-Qaida's presence and said Panjshir is under the invasion of the Taliban and Pakistanis and al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. The Taliban have blocked humanitarian services including medicine in the valley, the former vice president earlier tweeted. He also alleged that innocent people of Panjshir were forced by the Taliban to walk on minefields in the mountain.
Panjshir remained undefeated during the earlier regime of the Taliban rule between 1996 and 2001 when Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Lion of Panjshir, formed Northern Alliance, which got support from many countries.