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Panjshir: Last pocket of resistance falls to Taliban

The Taliban has claimed total control over Afghanistan after claiming capture of the Panjshir Valley, the last remaining enclave of resistance against their rule.

But the leader of the resistance forces in Panjshir, Ahmed Massoud, did not concede defeat, saying his forces, drawn from the remnants of the regular Afghan army as well as local militia groups, were still fighting.

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“We are in Panjshir and our Resistance will continue,” he said on Twitter. He also said he was safe, but gave no details on his whereabouts.

Following their lightning-fast victory in mid-August over the former Afghan government’s security forces and the withdrawal of US troops after 20 years of war, the Taliban turned to fighting the forces defending the mountainous Panjshir Valley.

As the Taliban claimed victory on Monday, their chief spokesman warned against any further attempts to rise up against their rule while urging former members of the security forces to join their group’s ranks.

“With this victory, our country is completely taken out of the quagmire of war,” chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

“Anyone who tries to start an insurgency will be hit hard. We will not allow another,” he later added at a news conference in Kabul.

The Taliban published a video of their flag being raised over the governor’s house in Panjshir – underscoring a historic win that has seen the anti-Taliban bastion defeated for the first time during 40 years of conflict.

It remained in the hands of resistance fighters during Soviet rule, a subsequent civil war, and the Taliban’s first time in power of the late 1990s.

Taliban members celebrate after taking over Panjshir Valley. [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu]
Taliban members celebrate after taking over Panjshir Valley. [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu]
Taliban members patrol the streets of Panjshir. Panjshir remained in the hands of resistance fighters during Soviet rule, a subsequent civil war and the Taliban's first regime of the late 1990s. [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu]
Taliban members patrol the streets of Panjshir. Panjshir remained in the hands of resistance fighters during Soviet rule, a subsequent civil war and the Taliban’s first regime of the late 1990s. [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu]
As Taliban fighters amassed in the valley, Massoud on Monday called on Afghans in and out of the country to "rise up in resistance".  [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu]
As Taliban fighters amassed in the valley, Massoud on Monday called on Afghans in and out of the country to “rise up in resistance”. [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu]
The Taliban are yet to finalise their new government after rolling into the capital Kabul three weeks ago at a speed that analysts say likely surprised even the armed group themselves. [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu]
The Taliban are yet to finalise their new government after rolling into the capital Kabul three weeks ago at a speed that analysts say likely surprised even the armed group themselves. [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu]
Afghanistan's new rulers have pledged to be more "inclusive" than during their first stint in power in 1990s. [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu]
Afghanistan’s new rulers have pledged to be more “inclusive” than during their first stint in power in 1990s. [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu]
Taliban members man the streets after they take over Panjshir Valley. "With this victory, our country is completely taken out of the quagmire of war," chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu]
Taliban members man the streets after they take over Panjshir Valley. “With this victory, our country is completely taken out of the quagmire of war,” chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu]
The Taliban assured the people of the valley, who are ethnically distinct from the mainly Pashtun Taliban, that there would be no "discriminatory act against them". [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu]
The Taliban assured the people of the valley, who are ethnically distinct from the mainly Pashtun Taliban, that there would be no “discriminatory act against them”. [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu]
Taliban members pose for a photo after they took over Panjshir Valley. Panjshiri leader Ahmad Massoud did not concede defeat, saying his force, drawn from the remnants of the regular Afghan army as well as local militia fighters, was still fighting. [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu]
Taliban members pose for a photo after they took over Panjshir Valley. Panjshiri leader Ahmad Massoud did not concede defeat, saying his force, drawn from the remnants of the regular Afghan army as well as local militia fighters, was still fighting. [Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu

Source: Al Jazeera

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