September 24, 2021

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The "Taliban" ends control of Afghanistan with the fall of the Panjir Valley

The “Taliban” ends control of Afghanistan with the fall of the Panjir Valley

On Monday, the Taliban declared victory over opposition forces in the Panjshir Valley, northeast of the Afghan capital Kabul, tightening its grip on the country and promising to announce a new government soon to ensure an end to the war in the country. Afghan Ahmed Masood, the leader of the anti-Taliban opposition in the Panchshir Valley, on Monday, in an audio recording of the “national uprising” against the movement, fully acknowledged the fall of Afghanistan into the hands of the movement. A spokesman for the Front confirmed the withdrawal of its components to the mountains and preparations for guerrilla warfare. In pictures on social media, members of the Taliban appeared in front of the gates of the governor’s office in Punjab province after a weekend clash with the Afghan National Front led by Punjab leader Ahmed Masood.

Taliban spokesman Jabihullah Mujahid told a news conference that Taliban militants had taken control of the Banjshir Valley, the last stronghold of the movement in Afghanistan.

Mujahideen sought to reassure residents of the province that “the war in Afghanistan is officially over” and that “there will be no retaliation against them.”

Masood did not admit defeat

Nonetheless, the leader of the National Opposition, Ahmed Masood, commands a force of regular Afghan troops and the rest of the local militia, constantly violates and does not admit defeat. “We are in Punchshir and our protest will continue,” he said on Twitter. It is not clear where Masood is. He said he was safe, but did not provide further details.

“I urge you to start a national uprising for the glory, freedom and prosperity of our country, wherever you are, at home and abroad,” Masood said in an audio message sent to the media. In the audio recording, Masood confirmed that “anti-Taliban protests continue in Punjabi” and called for protests against the Taliban in all parts of Afghanistan. He also admitted that several leaders of the military opposition had been killed, and members that my family had been killed in the Taliban attack. He accused Afghanistan of “bringing in aliens to kill people” and rejecting “foreign intervention in Afghanistan.”

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In turn, the front’s spokesman, Ali Masam Nazari, said opposition forces in Punchshir were changing tactics. A spokesman explained that they were now returning to the mountains, from where they would continue the conflict, and that the conflict would turn into a guerrilla war with the Taliban.

Strategic location and military camps

Surrounded by snow-capped rugged mountain peaks, Panjir Valley offers a natural defensive advantage as it helps fighters to disappear in the face of advancing forces and then sneak into the valley from a height. The long and deep valley stretches for about 120 km from southwest to northeast of the capital, Kabul, and is protected by mountains with peaks as high as 3000 m.

Western powers say they are ready to deal with the Taliban and send humanitarian aid to people displaced by the drought and war, but the government’s official recognition and broader economic aid are not just promises to protect human rights, it depends on what actions are taken.

The United Nations has said it will hold an international aid conference on September 13 to prevent Secretary-General Antonio Guterres from calling it a humanitarian catastrophe.