entrance to the Panjshir valley – the only Afghan province still out of
the group’s control. The local resistance denies the Taliban has made
major operation to take the Panjshir valley on Thursday, after the
negotiations with the local resistance movement failed, according to
spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. He said the Taliban fighters entered the
province and captured eleven “important” positions along the
main road leading to the eastern province of Badakhshan. Among them was
the town of Shattal in the Parwan province, at the southwestern entrance
to the valley.
Representatives of the National Resistance Front
(NRF) denied the Taliban made any advances into the valley, however, and
claimed they were still in full control of all the passes leading into
Panjshir. The Taliban’s “multiple” attempts to enter the area were thwarted, the militia claimed.
“They did not succeed in their offensive and they did not advance even a kilometer,” NRF spokesman Fahim Dashti said.
Both sides claimed to have inflicted heavy losses on their enemies, but the claims were impossible to verify independently.
Taliban’s Mujahid said the fighting started after talks with the
Panjshir militia failed. According to reports, the Taliban was ready to
accept any governor the local militias would appoint but demanded that
the flag of the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’ be raised over the
valley – something the NRF refused to do.
According to Amrullah Saleh, who now styles himself as the acting
president of Afghanistan, the flags of the Islamic Republic – the
former, US-backed government – are still flying in Panjshir.
was the deputy to Ashraf Ghani, the NATO-backed president who fled the
country on August 14 as the Taliban approached Kabul, triggering the mad
scramble of the US-organized airlift.
The standoff between the
Taliban and the Panjshir resistance has been shaping up since then. On
August 31, Reuters reported that at least eight Taliban fighters were
killed as they tried to move on the NRF positions. The Taliban did not
comment on the losses at that time, as the group apparently was still
seeking a negotiated solution to the conflict with the militias.
week it was reported that local militias in the northern Baghlan
province had evicted Taliban members from three districts, only for one
to be recaptured soon after. The Taliban now claims to have recaptured