Heavy Fighting Continues in Afghanistan’s Panjshir
Kayhan – Heavy fighting continues between the Taliban and resistance forces in Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley as the armed group tries to seize the last holdout province. Resistance fighters said on Sunday that they captured hundreds of Taliban troops as well as their equipment and vehicles.
Meanwhile, Mark Milley, the top U.S. general, said Afghanistan will “likely” erupt in civil war if the Taliban are not able to establish control, warning that a broad civil war could lead to a resurgence of militant groups. Alongside a large haul of American-made infantry weapons, Afghanistan’s new rulers now possess Humvees, armored personnel carriers, and at least one functioning Black Hawk helicopter.
The National Resistance Front (NRF) of Afghanistan, grouping forces loyal to local leader Ahmad Massoud, said on Sunday it surrounded “thousands of terrorists” in Khawak Pass and the Taliban abandoned vehicles and equipment in the Dashte Rewak area.
NRF spokesman added “heavy clashes” were going on.
Sources on the ground said hundreds of Taliban forces had been taken prisoner on Sunday. “Sources within the valley are saying the NRF are claiming to have captured about 1,500 Taliban. Apparently, these fighters were surrounded,” Al Jazeera reporter said.
Nearly 1,000 Taliban forces were either killed, wounded, or taken captive after the exit route behind them was closed off. The information could not be verified independently. Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi said on Twitter on Sunday its forces seized five of the province’s seven districts. Karimi said Khinj and Unabah districts had been taken, he said.
“The Mujahideen [Taliban] are advancing toward the center [of the province],” he wrote. Panjshir is the last Afghan province holding out against the Taliban that swept to power last month. Both sides claimed to have the upper hand in Panjshir but neither could produce conclusive evidence to prove it. The Taliban was unable to control the valley when it ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.