The Taliban has claimed victory in Afghanistan’s Panjshir province, the last remaining hold-out among Afghanistan’s 34 provinces to resist the Taliban. If the claim is true, it would mean the Taliban now control every Afghan province.
The National Resistance Front in Afghanistan (NRF), is an anti-Taliban group which has been battling the militant’s offensive in the Panjshir Valley. The panjshir region is known for its hideous topography which makes it a perfect center for guerilla warfare. The NRF has resisted UK, Soviet and Taliban forces from entering the region in the last four years and swore to resist the Taliban this time around if they tried to invade.
A Taliban spokesman on Monday morning, September 6 said the region has been “completely conquered” following two weeks of fierce fighting with the resistance group.
However, the National Resistance Front in Afghanistan (NRF), denied the claim, with spokesman Ali Nazary telling CNN: “The resistance is still all over the valley.”
Photos and videos shared on social media showed the white flag of the Taliban hoisted between buildings in what the Taliban claims to be the center of Panjshir.
“The last nest of the enemy, Panjshir province, was completely conquered… We assure the honorable people of Panjshir that they will not face any discriminatory treatment. They are all our brothers, and we will work for one country and one common goal. With the recent efforts and this victory, our country is completely out of the vortex of war,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a tweet.
The NRF said other areas in Panjshir remained under its control.
“Most of Bazarak district and all the side valleys are controlled by the NRF,” Nazary said.
“Taliban’s claim of occupying Panjshir is false. The NRF forces are present in all strategic positions across the valley to continue the fight. We assure the people of Afghanistan that the struggle against the Taliban and their partners will continue until justice and freedom prevails,” the NRF said.
Earlier, Taliban spokesman Belal Kareemi told CNN the group’s militant fighters had taken all districts of Panjshir province except for the capital of Bazarak and Rokha districts, which remain under NRF control.
For two weeks the NRF, a multi-ethnic group that includes former Afghan security force members and reportedly numbers in the thousands, has continued the fight against the Taliban following the militants’ almost-complete takeover of Afghanistan.
NRF leader Massoud said the group agreed to certain measures “to facilitate the requirements of national peace and security in the country” and “hopes that the Taliban will respond to the request of the clerics and take practical steps.”
“The National Resistance Front is ready to immediately end the war in order to achieve lasting peace, if the Taliban end their attacks and military operations in Panjshir and Andarab,” Massoud said.
“The National Resistance Front fully supports the call of the religious scholars to lift the penalties imposed on Panjshir and hopes that the Taliban group will take this Islamic and humanitarian demand seriously and implement it,” he added.
“The National Resistance Front proposes that the Taliban stop its military operations in Panjshir, Andarab, Parwan and Kapisa and withdraw its forces from Panjshir and Andarab. In return, the National Resistance Front will direct its forces to refrain from military action,”
After his comments, the NRF reported that its spokesmen Fahim Dashty and General Abdul Wudod Zara had been killed.
“Regretfully, the National Resistance of Afghanistan lost two companions in the holy resistance against oppression and aggression today,” the group tweeted. “May their memory be eternal!”