Taliban claim capture of Panjshir, the last resistance stronghold
Kabul, Sep 6 (EFE).- The Taliban Monday claimed that theirAfghan takeover was complete after they captured Panjshir, the last province held by resistance forces opposed to the Islamist militia.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesperson for the insurgent group, said Taliban fighters “completely conquered” the north-eastern valley of Panjshir that 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.”
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 National Resistance Front, made up of guerrillas and Afghan soldiers from the ousted government of Ashraf Gani, has been fighting the Taliban to defend Panjshir.
The NRF refuted the Panjshir claim of the Taliban 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 warlord, Ahmad Shah Massoud, known as “the lion of the Panjshir,” leads the NRF.
Ahmad Shah Massoud is the legendary Afghan warlord who defeated the Soviets and the Taliban previously,
The NRF Sunday lost two of its prominent leaders.
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, NRF spokesperson, and General Abdul Wudod Zara were martyred,” the NRF tweeted.
Panjshir was also the center of resistance against the Islamist group during the previous Taliban regime from 1996 to 2001.
Former Afghan vice president Amrullah Saleh, the self-proclaimed acting president, is also part of the NRF.
The fighting in Panjshir intensified after attempts by the Taliban and Massoud for peace talks failed.
The NRF on Sunday reiterated its willingness to resolve the problems and the immediate cessation of hostilities.