On September 1st, the Taliban called on the holdout bastion of the Panjshir Valley to lay down their arms, as resistance fighters said they had repulsed heavy attacks.
The National Resistance Front (NRF), comprising anti-Taliban militia fighters and former Afghan security forces, has vowed to defend the enclave as the Islamist group sends fighters to encircle the area.
Underlining the aim of resistance forces to defeat the Taliban, former Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh said that the resistance is “based in Panjshir” but it fights for all Afghans.
“Our resistance is to defend the rights of all Afghan citizens. This resistance is based in Panjshir, not for Panjshir and for Panjshir. Today, this valley hosts all the country and is a hope for all the Afghan people who are escaping from oppression, revenge, prejudice, slipping on people’s property and your dark thinking,” said Saleh.
Meanwhile, the Taliban said that after talks fell through
My brothers, we tried our best to solve the Panjshir problem with talks and negotiations… but unfortunately all in vain,” senior Taliban official Amir Khan Muttaqi said, in an audio message to the people of the Panjshir posted on Twitter.
“Now that the talks have failed and Mujahiddin (Taliban) have surrounded Panjshir, there are still people inside that don’t want the problems to be solved peacefully,” he added.
“Now it is up to you to talk to them,” the Taliban message to the Panjshir people said. “Those who want to fight, tell them it is enough.”
Bismillah Mohammadi, Afghanistan’s defense minister before the government fell last month, said the Taliban had launched a renewed assault on Panjshir on the evening of August 31st.
“Last night the Taliban terrorists attacked Panjshir, but were defeated,” Mohammadi tweeted on September 1st, claiming 34 Taliban were killed and 65 wounded.
“Our people should not worry. They retreated with heavy casualties.”
— Northern Alliance 🇭🇺 (@NA2NRF) August 31, 2021
This week, Panjshir fighters held military training in a show of force, with men carrying heavy logs on their shoulders crossing chest-deep icy rivers.
Above their armored vehicles and over their bases fluttered their flag, a challenge to the Taliban’s white banner now hauled up across the rest of the country.
Many Afghans are terrified of a repeat of the Taliban’s initial rule from 1996 to 2001, which was infamous for their treatment of girls and women, as well as a brutal justice system.
The NRF has set up machine gun nests, mortars, and surveillance posts fortified with sandbags in anticipation of a Taliban assault.
The Taliban are pushing in hopes to show that they can easily crush the resistance and force them into submission during negotiations, but so far that has all resulted in failure.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Panjshir Resistance Willing To Negotiate With The Taliban
- Resistance Forces Repel Taliban Attack In Panjshir Once Again