- The Panjshir Valley is the final holdout against Taliban control in Afghanistan.
- Heavy fighting has been taking place in the region between resistance fighters and the Taliban.
- The Taliban claim to have seized control of the valley, but resistance forces say they have not been defeated.
Taliban sources claim they have seized the Panjshir Valley, the last part of Afghanistan not under their control, while resistance forces deny the claims, reports say.
Heavy fighting has been taking place in the mountainous region in north-central Afghanistan as resistance fighters battle the Taliban.
Taliban sources told Reuters that they had defeated the “troublemakers” and were now in control of the entirety of the country.
One of the resistance leaders, Amrullah Saleh, the country’s former vice-president, released a video denying claims that the resistance movement had been defeated and that he had fled.
—Yalda Hakim (@BBCYaldaHakim) September 3, 2021
“There is no doubt we are in a difficult situation. We are under invasion by the Taliban,” Saleh said in the video. “We have held the ground, we have resisted.”
“We will not surrender, we are standing for Afghanistan,” he said.
After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan several weeks ago, the valley has become the center of a resistance movement led by local tribal leader Ahmad Massoud, who is the son of a renowned mujahideen leader, and the former vice-president.
Panjshir Valley has long been a center of resistance in Afghanistan. The valley defied Taliban rule in the 1990s and held out during the Soviet Union’s occupation.
Its rocky terrain and natural mountainous defenses have historically made it difficult to conquer.
Fighters from the old government’s forces and regional militias, known as the National Resistance Front (NRF), have gathered in the valley in a last-ditch stand against the Taliban. Hundreds are reported to have died in clashes.
Other fighters similarly refuted claims that the rebels had been defeated.
Ali Nazari, a spokesperson for the NRF fighters told BBC World News that they had successfully fought off the Taliban.
“There are well over a few hundred Taliban who are trapped. And they are running out of munitions and they are negotiating terms of surrender right now,” he told the outlet.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that three Taliban spokespeople claimed victory in the valley.
“By the grace of Allah Almighty, we are in control of the entire Afghanistan. The troublemakers have been defeated and Panjshir is now under our command,” one Taliban commander told the outlet.
The claims of either side could not be independently verified.