Afghanistan: Taliban says Panjshir has fallen; resistance leaders deny claim
Taliban sources on Friday said the group has captured the Panjshir Valley, the last province in Afghanistan to hold out against them. However, resistance leaders have rejected that claim. Heavy fighting has continued between the two sides in Panjshir even weeks after capital city Kabul and the rest of the country quickly fell to the insurgents. Here's more on this.
'We are in control of entire Afghanistan'
"By the grace of Allah Almighty, we are in control of the entire Afghanistan. The troublemakers have been defeated and Panjshir is now under our command," a Taliban commander said, according to Reuters news agency. Celebratory gunfire was heard all over Kabul and the social media was full of posts claiming the Panjshir Valley's fall, the agency reported.
'This is a lie,' say leaders of the resistance
However, Amrullah Saleh, a former Vice President of Afghanistan who is leading the resistance, said they have not given up. "There is no doubt we are in a difficult situation," he said in a video message. "We have held the ground, we have resisted." "News of Panjshir conquests is circulating on Pakistani media. This is a lie," Ahmad Massoud, another resistance leader, has said.
'The resistance will continue'
The RESISTANCE is continuing and will continue. I am here with my soil, for my soil defending its dignity. https://t.co/FaKmUGB1mq— Amrullah Saleh (@AmrullahSaleh2) September 3, 2021
Taliban is spreading propaganda, says resistance official
"The Taliban propaganda machine is trying to divert attention, is trying to spread propaganda, to weaken morale in Kabul and elsewhere," Ali Nazary, a spokesperson for the National Resistance Front (NRF), told NPR.
Hundreds died in Panjshir clashes over the past weeks
Heavy fighting has continued in Panjshir over the past couple of weeks and reports say hundreds have died in the clashes. The Valley, surrounded by mountains and home to an estimated 2,00,000 people, has traditionally been an anti-Taliban stronghold. It had held out against the Soviet invasion as well as the last Taliban government, which ruled during 1996-2001.
Taliban set to form new Afghan government
The Taliban is set to form an interim government in Afghanistan and an announcement is expected soon. Reports say its supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada will oversee religious matters and governance while co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be in-charge of day-to-day affairs. Taliban leaders Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai will hold senior positions in the new government.