The Taliban have seized complete control of Panjshir province, the last holdout in Afghanistan held by resistance forces, the terror group’s spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed on Monday.
Social media websites are awash with pictures of Talibani terrorists posing in front of the gate of the Panjshir provincial governor’s compound.
However, there was no immediate word on Taliban’s claim of occupying the Panjshir Valley from either of the resistance leaders—Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh. As per a Times of India report, Saleh was moved to a safe place after a helicopter attacked his house. Ahmed Massoud is said to be safe too.
Days ago, the Taliban claims of taking over the Panjshir province was denied by NRF. Saleh had released a video saying he is still there and the resistance continues.
The reported fall of Panjshir Valley came weeks after the Taliban stormed into Kabul on August 15 and seized control of Afghanistan. It resulted in people trying to flee the country, including women who feared a return of 1990s-type Taliban rule where they had to stay at home, entertainment was banned, and public executions as punishments were common.
While the Taliban claimed that it has wrested complete control of the Panjshir Valley from the resistance forces, a report published in India Today cited a close aide of former vice president Amrullah Saleh refuting the claims. “The Taliban claims are false. Resistance forces are up on the mountains and defending themselves. The Taliban are aided by Pakistani choppers for operations against us,” the report quoted the aide as saying.
The last bastion of resistance forces in Afghanistan- Panjshir came under heavy fire on Sunday. The former Samangan MP Zia Arianjad in a quote to Aamaj News informed that the province was bombed by Pakistani Air Force drones. Reports suggested that smart bombs were used for the attack.
Several news agencies reported that the Taliban got help from the Pakistani army in their fight against the resistance forces. According to sources close to the resistance forces, Pakistan provided air support to the Taliban in their campaign to lay control of the Panjshir Valley. It is reported to have airdropped special forces to fight along with the Taliban against the resistance forces.
Though a clear picture is yet to emerge, many reports are stating that the Taliban has caused massive losses to the resistance forces. As per AFP, the National Resistance Front has informed that they are still present in some strategic locations and their struggle against the Taliban and its supporting forces will continue.
#UPDATES National Resistance Front, the anti-Taliban resistance in Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley, says present in “strategic positions”, adds “struggle against the Taliban and their partners will continue” after Taliban say they captured the area pic.twitter.com/Nn2rYw1rQ7— AFP News Agency (@AFP) September 6, 2021
Key resistance force leaders killed as Taliban claims it now controls all 8 districts of Panjshir Valley
The fundamentalist group later claimed that it has taken control of all eight districts of Panjshir, after it launched an offensive to bring the last bastion of the resistance forces under its control.
The Taliban has also asserted that the chief commander of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, Saleh Mohammed, was also killed in their offensive in Panjshir.
According to Asvaka News Agency, Fahim Dashti, spokesperson of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, was killed during a battle with the Taliban in Panjshir on Sunday. General Sahib Abdul Wadood Zhor, nephew of Ahmad Shah Massoud and a former prominent Mujahideen commander, was also reportedly killed in the battle.
Panjshir resistance calls for ceasefire
After suffering heavy losses in the past two days, the resistance forces had earlier called for a ceasefire. The National Resistance Front late on Sunday said it “proposes that the Taliban stop its military operations in Panjshir..and withdraw its forces”.
It has assured to refrain from military action in return. Massoud is also ready to hold talks with the Taliban and is committed to resolving the differences.
“The national resistance forces are ready to immediately stop the war to achieve a lasting peace if the Taliban cease their attacks and military operations in Panjshir and Andarab, and hope to hold a large meeting with scholars and reformers, and continue discussions and talks,” read Massoud’s statement posted on Facebook.