Taliban Say They Took Panjshir, Last Holdout Afghan Province

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban stated on Monday they’ve taken management of Panjshir province north of Kabul, the final holdout of anti-Taliban forces within the nation and the one province the Taliban had not seized throughout their blitz throughout Afghanistan final month.

1000’s of Taliban fighters overran eight districts of Panjshir in a single day, in response to witnesses from the world who spoke on situation of anonymity, fearing for his or her security. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued a press release, saying Panjshir was now underneath management of Taliban fighters.

“We tried our greatest to resolve the issue via negotiations, they usually rejected talks after which we needed to ship our forces to battle,” Mujahid instructed a press convention in Kabul later Monday.

The anti-Taliban forces had been led by the previous vice chairman, Amrullah Saleh, and likewise the son of the enduring anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud who was killed simply days earlier than the 9/11 terrorist assaults in america.

In the meantime in northern Balkh province, at the very least 4 planes chartered to evacuate a number of hundred individuals searching for to flee the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan have been unable to depart the nation for days, officers stated Sunday, with conflicting accounts rising about why the flights weren’t in a position to take off as strain ramps up on the U.S. to assist these left behind to depart.

An Afghan official on the airport within the metropolis of Mazar-e-Sharif, the provincial capital, stated that the would-be passengers had been Afghans, a lot of whom didn’t have passports or visas, and thus had been unable to depart the nation. Talking on situation of anonymity as a result of he was not licensed to speak to reporters, he stated they’d left the airport whereas the state of affairs was being sorted out.

The highest Republican on the U.S. Home Overseas Affairs Committee, nonetheless, stated that the group included People and that they’d boarded planes however the Taliban weren’t letting them take off, successfully “holding them hostage.” Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas instructed “Fox Information Sunday” that Americans and Afghan interpreters had been being stored on six planes. He didn’t say the place that data got here from and it was not instantly attainable to reconcile the 2 accounts.

The ultimate days of America’s 20-year conflict in Afghanistan had been marked by a harrowing airlift at Kabul’s airport to evacuate tens of 1000’s of individuals — People and their allies — who feared what the long run would maintain, given the Taliban’s historical past of repression, notably of girls. When the final American troops pulled out on Aug. 30, although, many had been left behind.

The U.S. promised to proceed working with the brand new Taliban rulers to get those that need to omit, and the militants pledged to permit anybody with the correct authorized paperwork to depart.

Specialists had doubted that resistance to the Taliban in Panjshir, the final holdout province, may succeed long-term regardless of the world’s geographical benefit.

Nestled within the towering Hindu Kush mountains, the Panjshir Valley has a single slender entrance. Native fighters held off the Soviets there within the 1980s and likewise, for a short time, the Taliban a decade later underneath the management of Massoud. He was one in all a number of former mujahedeen leaders who had dominated Kabul between 1992-96 however turned their weapons on one another, resulting in the 1996 arrival of the Taliban.

Massoud’s son Ahmad, in a press release Sunday known as for an finish to the combating. The younger British-schooled Massoud stated his forces had been prepared to put down their weapons however provided that the Taliban agreed to finish their assault. Late on Sunday dozens of autos loaded with Taliban fighters had been seen swarming into the Panjshir Valley.

There was no assertion from Saleh, Afghanistan’s former vice chairman who had declared himself the appearing president after President Ashraf Ghani fled the nation on Aug. 15 because the Taliban reached the gates of the capital. The Taliban subsequently entered the presidency constructing that day.

The Taliban’s lightning blitz throughout the nation took lower than per week to overrun some 300,000 Afghan authorities troops, most of whom surrendered or fled.

The whereabouts of Saleh and the younger Massoud weren’t instantly identified Monday.

Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, sought to guarantee residents of Panjshir that they might be secure — whilst scores of households reportedly fled into the mountains forward of the Taliban’s arrival.

“There isn’t any want for any extra combating,” Mujahid stated on the press convention. “All Panjshir individuals and people who reside in Panjshir are our brothers and they’re a part of our nation.”

The Taliban had stepped up their assault on Panjshir on Sunday, tweeting that their forces overran Rokha district, one of many largest within the province. A number of Taliban delegations have tried negotiations with the holdouts, however talks failed.

Fahim Dashti, the spokesman for the anti-Taliban group and a distinguished media persona throughout earlier governments, was killed in battle Sunday, in response to the group’s Twitter account. He was additionally the nephew of Abdullah Abdullah, a senior Kabul official of the previous authorities concerned in negotiations with the Taliban on the way forward for Afghanistan.

Mujahid denied Dashti died in battle with the Taliban, and claimed he was killed in an “inside dispute amongst two commanders in Panjshir,” with out providing any proof to assist that declare.

Mujahid additionally instructed reporters that the Taliban would announce a brand new authorities “inside days” — one that might be inclusive, he stated, with out elaborating. As soon as the federal government is fashioned, members of the previous Afghan military and safety forces could be requested to return to work, he added.

“We want their experience,” he stated. Members of the earlier Afghan safety forces would then be part of with Taliban fighters to kind a single military, Mujahid added. Taliban fighters in civilian garments using in pickup vehicles via Kabul would get replaced with Taliban males in uniform.

Requested what rights ladies would have underneath the Taliban, Mujahid promised all ladies would ultimately be “requested to return” to their jobs.

The Taliban have claimed unspecified “safety causes” are behind the present sluggish tempo of return of Afghan ladies to their office and likewise behind limiting ladies to their houses, until accompanied by a male guardian. However many who bear in mind their rule are skeptical.

Related Press author Rahim Faiez in Istanbul contributed to this report.

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