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Afghanistan under Taliban control: fierce battles between the movement and its opponents in the Panjshir Valley amid reports of hundreds of deaths

Afghanistan under Taliban control: fierce battles between the movement and its opponents in the Panjshir Valley amid reports of hundreds of deaths
Afghanistan under Taliban control: fierce battles between the movement and its opponents in the Panjshir Valley amid reports of hundreds of deaths
4 September 2021, 08:26 GMT

Updated 4 hours ago

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Thousands of fighters take part in the battles

The fate of the Panjshir Valley, the last pocket of non-Taliban control in Afghanistan, remains unresolved while violent clashes continue in the area.

Taliban sources told Reuters news agency that they had taken control of the area, but the fighters of the resistance group there denied this.

Meanwhile, the director of the Pakistani intelligence service, Fayez Hamid, arrived in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Pakistan has repeatedly denied allegations that it supported the Taliban over the past two decades.

A Taliban spokesman said a political delegation met the Pakistani ambassador in Qatar on Friday to discuss the humanitarian situation and cross-border movement.

And the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, announced the holding of a high-level conference within days to discuss the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

Reports say that the fighting in the Panjshir Valley has left hundreds of casualties.

It is noteworthy that the valley, located north of the capital, Kabul, is one of the smallest provinces of Afghanistan, and it is the only one not controlled by the Taliban.

The area, which is considered a traditional stronghold of the opposition to the Taliban, is inhabited by between 150,000 and 200,000 people, and the area is hidden among the mountains.

The resistance includes former members of the security apparatus and local militias, and is led by local tribal leader Ahmed Masoud, whose father successfully resisted the Soviet forces that invaded Afghanistan in the 1980s and the Taliban in the 1990s.

Amrullah Saleh, one of the leaders of the National Resistance Front against the Taliban, posted a video to prove that he is still in the Panjshir Valley.

Saleh, who previously served as Afghan vice president, said that there are casualties on both sides, and added, “We will not surrender, we are steadfast for Afghanistan.”

He said he published the video to assure people that the reports that he had left the country were incorrect. The BBC has not been able to confirm his whereabouts.

Ali Nazari, a spokesman for the National Resistance Front fighters, told the BBC that the insurgents had forced the Taliban forces to retreat.

“There are a few hundred Taliban fighters stuck in the area and their ammunition is gradually running out, and they are negotiating with us the terms of delivery,” he added.

In contrast, Taliban officials in the region said they had scored a victory. One of their commanders told Reuters, “We are in control of all areas of Afghanistan, thanks to God. The rioters have been defeated and Panjshir is under our control now.”

The Taliban now controls the rest of Afghanistan, and is expected to announce the formation of a government in the coming days.

Western countries have said they will deal with the Taliban, but will not recognize the new government.

The European Union said it plans to restore a diplomatic presence in Kabul to oversee the evacuations of those wishing, and to ensure that the Afghan government is committed to issues including security and human rights.

The European Union’s foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, stressed that cooperation will be subject to strict conditions, and will be limited to helping the Afghan people.

 
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