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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/6/21

After fierce fighting, Taliban claims complete control of Panjshir Valley

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Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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The Taliban has taken complete control of Panjshir Valley, the last area in Afghanistan held by anti-Taliban forces, the Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid announced Sunday.

Pictures on social media on Sunday showed Taliban members standing in front of the gate of the Panjshir provincial governor's compound.

Earlier Sunday the anti-Taliban forces acknowledged suffering considerable battlefield losses and called for a ceasefire.

The National Resistance Force said in a tweet on Sunday that spokesman Fahim Dashty and General Abdul Wudod Zara had been killed in the latest fighting. General Wudod was the nephew of Panjshir resistance leader Ahmad Massoud.

The leader of the resistance forces in the Panjshir, Ahmad Massoud, said he was ready to end the fighting and begin negotiations if the Taliban fighters left the province.

"The National Resistance Forces are ready to end the war immediately to achieve a lasting peace if the Taliban cease their attacks and military operations in Panjshir and Andarab, and hope to hold a large-scale meeting with scientists and reformers, continue discussions and negotiations," the statement on Facebook said.

Earlier, Afghan media outlets reported that an Ulema council of religious scholars had called on the Taliban to accept a negotiated settlement to end the fighting in Panjshir.

The NRF includes local fighters loyal to 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.

Earlier, the NRF has promised to fight the Taliban but also said it was willing to negotiate with the group. But initial contact did not lead to a breakthrough.

Tellingly, India's Republic TV claimed Sunday that Pakistan used drones and helicopters in Panjshir to help Taliban.

Meanwhile, whereabout is not known of Afghanistan's former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who proclaimed himself acting president and took refuge in Panjshir Valley after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan. However, Russian News Agency Tass had reported on Friday that Amrullah Saleh is heading for Tajikistan.

"The situation in Panjshir is rather difficult. The Taliban are besieging the region from four sides, blocking access to the Internet, electricity and telephone communication. Last night, Saleh left Panjshir and headed for Tajikistan. Most likely, he is already there," Tass quoted a source in Kabul as saying.

The Panjshir Valley is famed for being the site of resistance to Soviet forces in the 1980s and the Taliban in the late 1990s.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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