Taliban says it has 'completely captured' Panjshir Valley
The Taliban has gained full control of the Panjshir province, the last one to hold out against it, the group announced on Monday. Several leaders of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, including spokesperson Fahim Dashti, have been killed, reports say. Earlier, the chief of the resistance front had said he is ready for a negotiated settlement with the Taliban to end the fighting.
Ahmad Massoud had said he is ready for settlement
Ahmad Massoud, the head of the resistance front, had made the announcement on the group's Facebook page. "The NRF in principle agrees to solve the current problems and put an immediate end to the fighting and continue negotiations," he said. Earlier, the local media reported that religious scholars had requested the Taliban to come to an agreement and end the fighting in Panjshir.
Massoud calls for a meeting with religious scholars
"To reach a lasting peace, the NRF is ready to stop fighting on condition that Taliban also stop their attacks and military movements on Panjshir and Andarab," the post further read. Andarab is a district in the neighboring province of Baghlan. Massoud added that a high-level meeting with the council of religious scholars could be held once the said condition is fulfilled.
Both sides claimed upper hand in Panjshir battle
The Taliban had claimed that it entered the provincial capital of Panjshir and was in control of the Valley. Resistance leaders, on the other hand, had denied that claim, saying they had the upper hand in the battle. The NRF recently announced that over 700 Taliban fighters were killed while some 600 had been captured and imprisoned.
Panjshir is a known anti-Taliban stronghold
Heavy fighting continued in Panjshir over the past couple of weeks and reports said both the sides suffered hundreds of casualties. The Valley, surrounded by mountains and home to an estimated 2,00,000 people, has traditionally been an anti-Taliban stronghold. It had earlier resisted the Soviet invasion as well as the last Taliban government, which ruled during 1996-2001
Disagreement between factions holding up government formation
The Taliban had seized Kabul on August 15 as former President Ashraf Ghani fled. However, the group is yet to form a government. Reports suggest the delay is because of disagreements between the factions led by deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Haqqani brothers.