The Taliban on Monday said they have completely taken over control of the last stronghold of anti-Taliban resistance forces in Panjshir province north of Kabul, the Afghan capital.
Videos of gun-wielding Taliban fighters hoisting flags at the Governor’s office went viral on Twitter.
The Taliban took control of Bazarak and Panjshir province is under its control. Video of the Taliban raising its banner over the Bazarak district center. pic.twitter.com/AimalwgtnF— Bill Roggio (@billroggio) September 6, 2021
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued a statement saying Panjshir was now under the control of the Taliban fighters, adding that the country was now finally out of the vortex of war.
“Panjshir province, the last stronghold of the mercenary enemy, was completely conquered. With the help of God Almighty and with the broad support of our nation, our latest efforts for the complete security of the country and the province have paid off,” Zabihullah Mujahid said.
Mujahid added that a number of resistance force members were beaten while the rest fled. He claimed that the “oppressed and honorable people” of Panjshir were released from hostages.
“They were rescued. We give full assurance to the honorable people of Panjshir that they will not be discriminated against, they are all our brothers and we will serve a country and a common goal.
“With this recent victory and efforts, our country has completely come out of the vortex of war, and our people will have a peaceful and happy life in the atmosphere of freedom, independence, and prosperity,” he said.
However, the resistance forces have denied the Taliban’s claim. a close aide of former vice president Amrullah Saleh told India Today that “The Taliban claims are false. Resistance forces are up on the mountains and defending themselves. The Taliban are aided by Pakistani choppers for operations against us.”
The resistance forces also vowed to continue the fight against the Taliban and claimed that they were at an “advantage”, Ahmed Massoud’s spokesperson told TRT World.
TRT World spoke to Ahmed Massoud’s spokesperson minutes before the Taliban claimed victory in Panjshir, the last hold-out in Afghanistan, and the resistance says the fight continues and the movement is at an advantage pic.twitter.com/62zbkCLajX— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) September 6, 2021
The Taliban’s victory announcement came after the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF), led by Ahmad Massoud, issued a statement welcoming the calls for negotiation and an “immediate end to the war”. However, as per reports in the local Pajhwok news agency, the Taliban have rejected the NRF’s offer.