KABUL: The Taliban have taken complete control of Panjshir province, the last area in Afghanistan being held by resistance forces, the group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said on Monday. Pictures on social media showed Taliban members standing in front of the gate of the Panjshir provincial governor’s compound. Mujahid informed of the victory in Panjshir in a tweet, stating that, “Thelast stronghold of the mercenary enemy, Panjshir province, was completely conquered.”
The Taliban also released a video of them hoisting their flag on the Governor’s house in Panjshir. In another video commander of the Badar force, that led the fight against the Panjshir rebellion, Maulvi Hidayatullah Badar could be seen assuring the local commanders that they were forgiven, and will never be trialled or executed. “Feel free to roam around the country,” he could be heard saying in the video.
According to reports, Taliban fighters could not win complete victory in Panjshir hence, the Badri Bridge was called in along with suicide attackers break the Panjshiri defensive lines.
It is after 43 years that the Massoud family has lost control of this remote valley.
Following the victory, Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement maintained that “With the help of Almighty God and the support of our people, the latest efforts towards complete security in the country have also yielded results and Panjshir province has come under the complete control of the Islamic Emirate.”
He added that some of the insurgents in the province were defeated while the rest fled, “freeing the oppressed and honourable people of Panjshir,” he said.
Mujahid said: “We assure the people of Panjshir Sharif that they will not be discriminated against in any way, they are all our brothers; we will serve together for one country and one goal.”
“With this victory and last effort, the rest of the country will be completely out of the war and our country will have a peaceful and prosperous life in an atmosphere of freedom, independence and prosperity. God willing.”
A day ago, Massoud had welcomed proposals from religious scholars for a negotiated settlement to end the fighting, Reuters reported.
Massoud, head of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA), made the announcement on the group’s Facebook page. Earlier, Taliban forces said they had fought their way into the provincial capital of Panjshir after securing the surrounding districts.
The Taliban took control of the rest of Afghanistan three weeks ago, taking power in Kabul on Aug. 15 after the Western-backed government collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.