The Taliban claimed on Monday to have captured the Panjshir Valley, the final bastion of Afghanistan not firmly underneath their management, at the same time as representatives of the opposition forces there maintained that they nonetheless had management over strategic positions within the area and vowed to struggle on.
The conflicting accounts of what was occurring on the bottom within the area 70 miles north of Kabul have been laborious to confirm as web and phone service into the area has been lower off.
Whereas rumors of the Taliban’s having taken over swirled this previous weekend, it was not till Monday morning that the group formally claimed management.
“Panjshir Province utterly fell to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s spokesman, wrote in an announcement on Twitter.
Taliban fighters posted photographs on-line mentioned to be of militants elevating the flag of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, because the Taliban calls the nation, within the provincial capital, Bazarak, in addition to of their forces speaking to native leaders.
Whereas the Taliban claimed that they’d conquered your entire province, the opposition group, the Nationwide Resistance Entrance, disputed that account, saying that its forces have been nonetheless positioned throughout the Panjshir Valley.
“We guarantee the folks of Afghanistan that the wrestle towards the Taliban and their companions will proceed till justice and freedom prevails,” it mentioned on Twitter.
For its half, the Taliban sought to reassure the native inhabitants that its forces meant them no hurt.
“We give full assurance to the honorable folks of Panjshir that they won’t be discriminated towards,” Mr. Mujahid mentioned. “They’re all our brothers, and we are going to serve a rustic and a standard aim.”
The Taliban took over nearly all of Afghanistan with astonishing velocity after the withdrawal of most American forces. The U.S.-trained Afghan safety forces melted away earlier than the militants, typically with out firing a shot, culminating within the Taliban’s seizure on Aug. 15 of the capital, Kabul.
Nonetheless, pockets of resistance remained, notably within the north, the place the Taliban have lengthy clashed with different paramilitary teams. In late August, a gaggle of former mujahedeen fighters and Afghan commandos mentioned that they’d begun a conflict of resistance in Panjshir. A rugged space about 70 miles north of Kabul, Panjshir, with its mountains and craggy valleys, has offered cowl for insurgents for the reason that Soviet occupation of the 1980s.
The Taliban in latest days reported making positive aspects towards the resistance forces and killing some senior leaders, together with the resistance spokesman, Fahim Dashti. Ahmad Zia Kechkenni, Mr. Dashti’s brother, mentioned in an interview on Monday that the spokesman “was martyred for defending his folks and nation, Afghanistan.”