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Afghanistan: Panjshir Valley, last anti-Taliban holdout, endures ‘heavy assaults’

i24NEWS - AFP

clock 2 min read

Afghan resistance movement fighters take part in military training in the Malimah area of Dara district in Panjshir province, on September 2, 2021.
Ahmad Sahel Arman/AFPAfghan resistance movement fighters take part in military training in the Malimah area of Dara district in Panjshir province, on September 2, 2021.

Transitioning from insurgents to rulers, the Taliban are determined to snuff out the Panjshir resistance

Fresh fighting was reported Saturday between the Taliban and resistance forces in Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley, even as the hardline Islamists finalize a new government that will set the tone for their rule.

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Facing the challenge of morphing from insurgents to rulers, the Taliban appear determined to snuff out the Panjshir resistance before announcing who will lead the country in the aftermath of Monday's US troop withdrawal, which was supposed to end two decades of war.

But Panjshir, which held out for nearly a decade against the Soviet Union's occupation and also the Taliban's first rule from 1996-2001, is stubbornly holding out.

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Fighters from the so-called National Resistance Front (NRF) -- made up of anti-Taliban militia and former Afghan security forces -- are understood to have stockpiled a significant armory in the valley, around 80 50 miles north of Kabul and guarded by a narrow gorge.

The forces in the Panjshir Valley are led by former vice-president Amrullah Saleh, alongside Ahmad Massoud -- the son of legendary anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud.

"The situation is difficult, we have been under invasion," Saleh said in a video message.

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