The Taliban say they have occupied Afghanistan’s last resistance area

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Afghanistan Update

After resistance fighters in the Panjshir Valley claimed that airstrikes had caused heavy casualties to their leaders, the Taliban declared victory over the last opposition stronghold in Afghanistan.

According to reports, the flag of the militants was hoisted at the governor’s residence in the mountains of northern Kabul on Monday. This is the first time the Taliban have invaded the area so deeply. Cradle of resistance A group of decades.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said: “With the help of Allah Almighty, the mercenary enemy was completely conquered in Panjshir’s last lair.” “Panjshir Province is completely under the control of the Islamic Emirate. “

But Ali Nazari, the head of external relations of the Afghan National Resistance Front, the anti-Taliban fighters’ coalition, denied that the fighting was over.He said that the resistance fighters had retreated to MountainFrom there they will maintain their armed struggle.

“Now, the Taliban have been carrying out a lot of propaganda, saying that they have occupied the valley, which is wrong,” Nazari told the Financial Times. “Enter Panjshir Will not translate into victory. .. What we changed is our tactics. Forty-eight hours ago, we were fighting more like a conventional war.Now we are moving towards Guerrilla warfare. “

The whereabouts of the two main leaders of the opposition, Ahmed Masood, the son of the legendary anti-Taliban fighter, and Amrullah Saleh, the former vice president of the government of former President Ashraf Ghani, are unclear. .

Mujahid said at a press conference in Kabul that Saleh has fled to neighboring Tajikistan. The claim could not be confirmed immediately.

this Taliban advanced After the NRFA stated that the valley had been attacked by air, killing several military commanders and resistance group spokesperson Fahim Dashti, a former journalist, he entered Panjshir.

“We have seen some drone attacks-aerial bombings-we don’t know if they are drones or planes,” Nazari said.

Opposition fighters accused Pakistan of providing air support for the Taliban offensive, but Islamabad denied this statement.

“Pakistan has not deployed any troops to help the Taliban,” a Pakistani government official said. “There is no credible evidence to support these fabricated claims.”

The official added that the Taliban had already acquired several military helicopters. U.S. withdrawal Last month, some pilots of the collapsed Afghan army were cooperating with the Taliban.

The official said: “The Taliban now has the independent ability to use vintage helicopters and Afghan pilots to use their own air power.”

Islamabad has supported the Taliban for decades and was one of the three countries that recognized the organization’s regime when it took control of Afghanistan in the 1990s.

Faiz Hameed, Director of the Intelligence Service of Pakistan’s spy agency, Went to Kabul on the weekend Meet with Taliban leaders and expand the country’s assistance in establishing a unified Afghan army.

Masood called for a ceasefire on Sunday and urged the Taliban to resume negotiations on a peace and power-sharing agreement.

But analysts said that the Taliban have little incentive to participate in the negotiations and may turn their full attention to forming a new government more than three weeks after their fighters have entered Kabul.

Mujahid said the Taliban may announce an interim government in the next few days because of reports of quarrels between rival factions.

Asfandyar Mir, an affiliate of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, said: “The Taliban finally have a political pie to be distributed, and many people claim this pie.” “This is a very complicated dance.”

Additional report by Fazelminallah Qazizai in Kabul

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