Kabul, Sep 6 (EFE).- The Taliban Monday claimed to have captured Panjshir, the last Afghan province held by the resistance forces opposed to the Islamist militia.
But Ahmad Massoud, who leads the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, formed by Afghan soldiers from the ousted government of Ashraf Gani and local militia fighters, vowed that they would continue fighting against the Taliban in the north of the country.
Social media pictures and videos showed Taliban fighters standing in front of the compound of the office of Panjshir provincial governor.
One of the clips showed militants hoisting a Taliban flag in a compound atop a hill.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson for the Taliban, said its fighters have taken over the northeastern valley of Panjshir, which is now “under the full control of the Islamic Emirate.”
“With the help of God and with the support of our nation, our last efforts for the complete security of the country have given result and Panjshir province has been completely conquered,” the Taliban spokesperson said in a tweeted statement.
Mujahid said Afghanistan “is completely out of the vortex of war.”
“Our people will have a peaceful and happy life in the atmosphere of freedom, independence and prosperity.”
Mujahid Monday claimed that Ahmad Massoud, leading the Panjshir anti-Taliban front, and former vice president Amrullah Saleh have escaped to neighboring Tajikistan.
Another Taliban spokesperson, Bilal Karimi, told EFE that the resistance fighters had fled the area and left behind their weapons, military vehicles, and helicopter.
“There is no fighting as the enemy is hiding in mountains of Panjshir. Our forces raised their flags on the Panjshir governor house in the morning.”
Panjshir was the only Afghan province not under the control of the Islamists after the Taliban seized power in Kabul on Aug.15.
The resistance front refuted the Taliban claim and vowed to fight the Islamists until the “freedom.”
“(The)Taliban 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 (people) of Afghanistan that the struggle against the Taliban & their partners will continue until justice & freedom prevail,” they tweeted.
Ahmad Massoud, the son of the late anti-Soviet warlord Ahmad Shah Massoud, indicated, in an audio message, that he was safe but gave no details on his whereabouts.
He urged the Afghans to rise against the Taliban “for the dignity, integrity, and freedom of our country.”
“Whatever means at your disposal, rise up against a crippling humiliation brought on us today by foreigners. Stand up, seize the moment, and accept our call for resistance,” Ahmad Massoud said.
He also confirmed the killing of two NFRA prominent leaders and blamed their death on “foreign mercenaries supporting the Taliban.”
Group spokesperson Fahim Dashty and General Abdul Wudod Zara, a nephew of Massoud, were shot dead in the battle with the Taliban.
“Regretfully, the National Resistance of Afghanistan lost two companions in the holy resistance against oppression and aggression. Fahim Dashty, NRFA spokesperson, and General Abdul Wudod Zara were martyred,” the NRFA tweeted.