Airstrikes hit Taliban positions in Afghanistan's Panjshir valley; several militants killed: Reports

 

Image Source : AP

In this Aug. 25, 2021, file photo, armored vehicles are seen in Panjshir Valley, north of Kabul, Afghanistan

Airstrikes by an unidentified military aircraft targetted the Taliban positions in Afghanistan’s Panjshir valley. The attack was reported in the wee hours of Tuesday, which comes a day after the Taliban had claimed ‘complete control’ over the Panjshir valley, the last resistance stronghold in the country.  Several militants have been reported killed in the airstrike, the source of which was unclear. 

On Monday, the Taliban had claimed the capture of the Afghan province of Panjshir, the last resistance stronghold in the country.

“Recent efforts to ensure complete security in the country have also brought results, and the Panjshir province has come under the full control of the Islamic Emirate (the name used by the Taliban),” said Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid.

The National Resistance Front (NRF) of Afghanistan, however, denied Taliban claims of capturing Panjshir and said the resistance forces are present at all strategic positions across the valley to continue the fight.

They further assured the people of Afghanistan that the struggle against the Taliban and their partners will continue until justice and freedom prevails.

The information was shared through the unverified Twitter account of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan.

“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 & their partners will continue until justice & freedom prevails,” tweeted the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan.

After the fall of Kabul on August 15, Panjshir province remained the only defiant holdout where resistance forces led by Ahamd Masoud, the son of late former Afghan guerrilla commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, were fighting the Taliban. The geography has witnessed heavy conflict between the warring sides in the past four days and both parties are claiming to have inflicted heavy casualties.

Panjshir has been the stronghold of the National Resistance Front, led by Ahmad Massoud and former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who declared himself caretaker president. On Sunday, Massoud said that he was ready to cease fighting and start negotiations if the Taliban abandoned the province.

Panjshir was the last Afghan province holding out against the armed group that swept to power last month. Taliban has been facing stiff resistance after pushing deep into the country’s holdout in Panjshir Valley.

Both sides claimed to have the upper hand in Panjshir but neither could produce conclusive evidence to prove it.

Panjshir resistance leader calls for ‘national uprising’ against Taliban

Meanwhile, Ahmad Massoud, the leader of the resistance forces in Afghanistan’s northeastern province of Panjshir, on Monday called for a “national uprising” against the Taliban.

In an audio message sent to media, National Resistance Front commander Ahmad Massoud said, “Wherever you are, inside or outside, I call on you to begin a national uprising for the dignity, freedom and prosperity of our country,” Aljazeera reported.

Panjshir resistance spokesperson Fahim Dashti was also reported dead in a clash with the Taliban on Sunday.

He was also the nephew of Abdullah Abdullah, a senior official of the former government who is involved in negotiations with the Taliban on the future of Afghanistan. 

Also Read | Resistance forces are still present in Panjshir

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