Last pocket of resistance captured, claim Taliban

The Taliban forces have taken complete control of Afghanistan including the Panjshir valley where opposition forces had been holding out, three Taliban sources told Reuters on Friday as heavy celebratory gunfire was heard in the Afghan capital of Kabul. Although a resistance leader denied it had fallen.

“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,” said one Taliban commander. It was not immediately possible to confirm the reports, which if true would give the Taliban complete control of Afghanistan, something they did not achieve when they first ruled the country between 1996 and 2001. National Resistance Front (NRF) spokesman Ali Nazari said that anti-Taliban forces had actually pushed the insurgents back earlier in the day. “The Taliban’s propaganda machine keeps publishing the same claims that Panjshir has fallen – we have seen it for the past week that it is false, and it’s the opposite – that it’s the National Resistance Front that has caused them to retreat,” Nazari told the BBC. Several other resistance leaders also dismissed reports of the fall of Panjshir, where thousands of fighters from regional militias and remnants of the old government’s forces had massed. The fighting in Panjshir is reported to have left hundreds dead.

The valley, north of the capital Kabul, is one of Afghanistan’s smallest provinces and the only one not to have fallen to the Taliban. The Taliban seized Kabul on August 15 after rapid advances across Afghanistan.