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Taliban Faced Hard Confrontation on Panjshir Area

September 5, 2021

On Saturday, as conflict between the Taliban and opposition forces persisted for control of Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley, the Taliban subsequently postponed the announcement of the new government until next week. Earlier on Friday, Taliban sources suggest that the group had taken over the valley, sparking celebratory fires in Kabul, killing 17 people and injuring 41 others.

While resistance forces had already excluded that the last province resisting the Taliban had fallen, the Taliban also decided not to issue a public statement of victory. According to the National Resistance Front (NRF) of Afghanistan, which includes opposition groups devoted to Ahmad Massoud, son of legendary anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, Taliban forces advanced to the Darband heights on the border between Kapisa province and Panjshir were forced back.

“The defence of Afghanistan’s enclave is unbreakable,” NRF spokesman Fahim Dashty tweeted. Panjshir has rigidly held out for nearly a decade against Soviet occupation as well as the Taliban’s first rule from 1996 to 2001. According to a Taliban source, fighting is still going on in Panjshir, but the advance is being slowed by landmines planted on the road leading to the provincial capital, Bazarak, and the provincial governor’s compound.

According to Taliban and resistance tweets, “Both demining and offensive operations are taking place at the same time”. Former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who was holed up with Ahmad Massoud, admitted the NRF’s dangerous position in Panjshir, which is surrounded by mountains except for a thin entry. The key district of Paryan had changed hands several times in the last few days, but this could not be independently verified.

As word diffused of the Taliban’s takeover of Panjshir, celebratory gunfire rang out in Kabul on Friday night, with news reports claiming the deaths of at least 17 people in addition to 41 casualties. However, the salvos killed two people and injured 20, according to the emergency hospital in Kabul, as the Taliban issued a strong warning to its fighters to stop.

“Eliminate firing in the air,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, who is expected to become the new regime’s information minister, said. “The weapons and bullets you were given are public land. Nobody has the right to squander them. Bullets can also cause harm to civilians, so don’t shoot in vain.” According to private broadcaster Tolo news, Taliban fighters also disbanded a demonstration in Kabul by about a dozen women pressuring the group to respect women’s rights to employment and education.

According to a Taliban source, the official statement of a new government will be delayed until the following week. Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who is said to be in line to lead the new government by some Taliban sources, stated on Qatar’s Al Jazeera channel that the new administration “included all groups of the Afghan people.”

“We are making every effort to improve their living standards. “The government would provide security because it is required for economic growth”. On Saturday, some signs of normalcy returned to Kabul, as Taliban spokesman Mujahid announced that one of Kabul’s leading foreign exchange distributors had revived and Qatar’s ambassador to Afghanistan announced that a technical staff had been able to reopen Kabul airport to receive aid. According to Al Jazeera’s correspondent, Domestic flights have resumed.

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