Panjshir Valley ‘completely captured’: Taliban
Published: 02:05 PM, 6 September 2021
The Taliban claimed on Monday that they had captured the last pocket of resistance in Afghanistan, the Panjshir Valley.
Following their lightning-fast rout of Afghanistan's army last month - and celebrations when the last US troops flew out after 20 years of war - the Taliban turned to crush the forces defending the mountainous Panjshir Valley.
"With this victory, our country is completely taken out of the quagmire of war," chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.
Late Sunday, the so-called National Resistance Front (NRF) - made up of anti-Taliban militia and former Afghan security forces - acknowledged suffering major battlefield losses in Panjshir and called for a ceasefire.
The NRF includes local fighters loyal to Ahmad Massoud - the son of the famous anti-Soviet and anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud - as well as remnants of the Afghan military that retreated to the Panjshir Valley.
The group said in a tweet Sunday that spokesman Fahim Dashty - a well-known Afghan journalist - and General Abdul Wudod Zara had been killed in the latest fighting.
The NRF had vowed to fight the Taliban but also said it was willing to negotiate with the Islamists. But initial contact did not lead to a breakthrough.
The Panjshir Valley is famed for being the site of resistance to Soviet forces in the 1980s and the Taliban in the late 1990s.