The Taliban today claimed victory over the Afghan resistance in the vast Panjshir Valley and promised to announce a new government in Afghanistan soon. Social media showed the Taliban hanging a flag outside the provincial governor’s office
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“Panjshir, the last refuge of the escaped enemy, has been captured,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters. “With this victory and the latest efforts, our country has emerged from the vortex of war and our people will have a happy life in peace, freedom and liberty,” he said.
The Taliban assured the people of Panjshir, who previously fought the group during their rule from 1996 to 2001, that there would be no “discriminatory action against them.”
The leaders of the resistance, former Vice President Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Massoud, had fled to neighboring Tajikistan, the Taliban claimed.
The Taliban’s claims are false, unfortunately the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA), led by Panjshiri leader Ahmad Massoud. “NRF forces are present at all strategic positions in the valley to continue the struggle,” Ali Maisam Nazary, NRFA’s head of foreign relations, said on his Facebook page.
Ahmad Massoud, whose force consists of remnants of the regular Afghan army and special forces, as well as local militia fighters, said on Twitter he was safe.
The Panjshir fighting was the most prominent example of resistance against the Taliban when it took power last month, along with a chaotic withdrawal of troops by the US after a 20-year war.
A Taliban spokesman denied there was any disagreement within the movement over the formation of a new government and said it would be announced soon. The new government is reported to have been delayed by a split between the Islamist group’s Doha and Haqqani factions and Haqqani’s reported objection to Taliban Supreme Leader Haibatullah Akhundzada as head of government.
Zabihullah Mujahid also said that women are back to work in the health and education sector and that “other areas will be offered one by one, once the system is set up for them”.
The Taliban banned girls and women from schools and most of them from work when they last ruled the country from 1996 to 2001. The group has now said that women are allowed to work in important sectors of society, in accordance with Islamic law, and that their rights are protected.
Panjshir, the last armed resistance against the Taliban, has been difficult for enemies to conquer in the past. The rugged mountain valley is still littered with the wreckage of tanks destroyed during the long war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s.