On Monday, the Taliban announced “full control” of the Panjshir Valley, where a resistance has formed against them since seizing power in Afghanistan in mid-August, while the National Resistance Front responded, saying that the battle “will continue.”
In a statement, the movement’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, declared full control of Panjshir province, saying: “With this victory, our country has fully emerged from the quagmire of war. People will now live in freedom, safety and prosperity.”
“Rebels were killed and others fled. Respected residents of Panjshir were rescued from hostage-takers. We assure them that no one will be discriminated against. They are all our brothers and we will work together for a country and a purpose,” he added.
Pictures on social media, which The Eastern Herald could not verify, showed members of the Taliban standing in front of the gate of the Panjshir governor’s compound.
In contrast, the Afghan National Resistance Front asserted that the battle against the Taliban would “continue” in the Panjshir Valley; The last area in Afghanistan was controlled by the resistance.
The front said, on Twitter, that it controls “strategic positions” in the valley, adding that “the struggle against the Taliban and their partners will continue.”
— Zabihullah (..ذبـــــیح الله م ) (@Zabehulah_M33) September 6, 2021
The area is home to the Afghan National Resistance Front, a long-standing anti-Taliban stronghold that commander Ahmad Shah Massoud helped make known in the late 1990s before he was assassinated by al-Qaeda in 2001.
The Afghan National Resistance Front, led by Ahmad Masoud, son of Commander Massoud, includes elements of local militias, as well as former members of the Afghan security forces who arrived in the valley when all Afghan territory fell into the hands of the Taliban.
Several reports had talked about the progress of Taliban fighters, on Sunday, in the state of Panjshir, at a time when the US Chief of Staff warned that Afghanistan faces the risk of slipping into a wider civil war that would provide fertile ground for “terrorism”.
The resistance called for a ceasefire, after reports of heavy casualties during the weekend.
And the “Afghan National Resistance Front”, said on Sunday evening, that it “proposed to the Taliban to stop its military operations in Panjshir … and withdraw its forces. In return, we will ask our forces to refrain from any military action.”
The Resistance Front pointed to the killing of its spokesman, Fahim Dashti, and General Abdul Wadud, who visited him in the recent battles.
As for the Taliban, it had claimed, also on Sunday evening, that it had captured almost the entire valley, but accounts on social media in support of the Resistance Front denied this and said that the resistance fighters withdrew towards the heights.
The Taliban is expected to put the final touches on the shape of its new regime, three weeks after its rapid takeover of Kabul, which analysts say came as a surprise even for the extremist movement itself.