Taliban Take Control of Panjshir, Sources Says

September 4, 2021

Three Taliban sources said on Friday that Taliban forces had taken full control of Afghanistan, including the Panjshir valley, where opposition forces had been holding out, as heavy festive gunfire rang out in the Afghan capital Kabul. “By the grace of Allah Almighty, we have complete control of the area.” One Taliban commander said, “The insurgents have been vanquished and Panjshir is now under our command”.

It was not possible to verify the reports right away. Former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, one of the opposition forces’ leaders, told Tolo News television station that reports that he had entered the country were false. Despite the fighting in Panjshir Valley, the Taliban are expected to form a government within days.

The Taliban face the enormous problem of transitioning from insurgent group to ruling power just days after the U.S fully withdrew its troops, effectively ending a two-decade war. While the West has taken a wait-and-see approach to the group, there have been some indications of participation with the new leaders.

China revealed a tweet from a Taliban spokesman hours earlier, revealing that the Chinese embassy in Kabul will remain open. Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “We hope the Taliban will maintain an inclusive and welcoming political structure, follow moderate and stable domestic and foreign policy, and break with all terrorist groups”.

The UN said it had resumed humanitarian flights to various parts of the country, including Karachi, Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, and Kandahar in the South. On Friday, the country’s flag carrier, Ariana Afghan Airlines, commenced domestic flights, while the UAE dispatched a plane carrying “urgent medical supplies.”

Meanwhile, Western Union and Money gram said they were resuming transfers of money from relatives abroad, which many Afghans rely on to survive, and Qatar said it was working to reopen Kabul’s airport, which is a lifeline for aid. In Kranj, EU countries laid out the groundwork for greater engagement with the Taliban, agreeing to establish a combined Kabul civilian existence to assist with departing if security permits.

“We have to participate with the new government in Afghanistan, which does not mean acceptance; it is an operations and maintenance engagement,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said following a meeting of the EU’s foreign ministers in Slovenia. He said, “This operations and maintenance engagement will increase depending on how this government behaves”. Borrell laid out a slew of “benchmarks” for the new authorities to meet as the Taliban prepares to reveal a new government after gaining power. Meanwhile, Doha’s special envoy to Afghanistan told Al Jazeera on Friday that Qatar hopes to see humanitarian assistance corridors established at Afghan airports within 48 hours.

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