The Taliban say that they have taken complete control of Panjshir province, the last stronghold of the anti-Taliban resistance forces. Pictures circulated on social media showing Taliban fighters standing in front of the gate of the Panjshir provincial governor’s compound but the opposition forces say that the fight is not over.
Taliban’s chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said, “With this victory, our country is completely taken out of the quagmire of war.”
Meanwhile, the National Resistance Front spokesman disputed the Taliban’s claim saying that the resistance forces were present in “strategic positions” across the Panjshir valley. The whereabouts of resistance leader Ahmed Massoud and the former vice president Amrullah Saleh remain unknown.
Earlier on Monday, the anti-Taliban coalition called for a ceasefire conceding considerable losses during the battle. and called for a ceasefire. The NRF is consists of fighters under Massoud’s command and the remnants of the Afghan Armed Forces who retreated to the legendary valley, about 125 kilometres north of the capital city of Kabul.
In a press conference on Monday, Mujahid said that the NRF gave “negative answers” in response to the Taliban’s offer to negotiate. Mujahid said no civilian casualties were reported in the battle for Panjshir.
The group is yet to announce its new government after they stormed Kabul three weeks ago. The Taliban leadership has promised an inclusive government that will represent Afghanistan’s complex ethnic makeup, a stark departure from when they rule the country in the late 1990s with an iron fist.