THE Taliban are on the verge of crushing Afghan resistance as thousands flood the mountainous Panjshir Valley.
Militants have reportedly seized four of the area’s seven districts – including provincial capital Bazarak – from an anti-Taliban coalition following days of bloody battle.
Afghan resistance movement and anti-Taliban uprising forces[/caption]
The resistance are the last bastion standing against the Taliban[/caption]
Resistance fighters continue to hold the line against the Taliban[/caption]
The region, 80 miles north of Kabul, is the final territorial obstacle standing in the way of the Taliban announcing a government.
It was regarded as an impenetrable natural fortress, with the Taliban never breaching the 60-mile-long valley in the past 26 years.
But Taliban spokesperson Bilal Karimi said they had taken control of a police headquarters and a district centre of Rukhah, a town neighbouring Bazarak, as well as weapons, vehicles and prisoners.
They reportedly stormed the valley after overrunning mountain outposts defended by the resistance forces – officially titled the National Resistance Front (NRF).
The coalition vowed never to surrender, fighting to the last man as the Taliban attempt to take control of the last free bastion in Afghanistan.
Local NRF leader Ahmad Massoud said its members surrounded “thousands of terrorists” on Khawak Pass at the weekend, and the Taliban abandoned equipment in the Dashte Rewak area.
NRF spokesman Fahim Dashti added that “the resistance forces are ready to continue their defence against any form of aggression” from the “propaganda machine”.
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Hundreds of fighters are reported to have died in clashes between the “Lions of Panjshir” fighters and the Taliban.
Officials claiming the area had fallen sparked wild celebrations in Kabul that left 17 people dead as fighters stupidly fired their guns into the air.
However, resistance sources have denied this and the valley is understood to still be standing against the Taliban.
Around 200,000 people live in the region which has never been conquered before – with fighters holding out in the area beating back in the Soviets in the 80s and the Taliban in the 90s.
Resistance fighters in Panjshir are understood to be local tribesmen who are fighting alongside former Afghan soldiers and police, including Western-trained commandos and special forces.
And the force has stockpiled military equipment including tanks, helicopters, artillery guns and trucks as they prepare for a potentially long siege.
However, they are facing a Taliban who is armed with a massive multi-billion dollar arsenal of US weapons as the terrorists seized hundreds of thousands of pieces of equipment that had been left behind.
‘LIONS OF PANJSHIR’
The resistance are known as the “Lions of Panjshir” as they are in part led by Ahmad Massoud, the son of a legendary freedom fighter known as “The Lion” who defended the valley in the 80s and 90s.
The narrow valley is still littered with the remnants of armoured vehicles – echoes of the unsuccessful attacks launched by the Russians.
And along with them is Amrullah Saleh, the former vice president of Afghanistan, who declared himself the country’s rightful leader as decreed by the constitution.
“There is no doubt we are in a difficult situation. We are under invasion by the Taliban,” he said in a video message to the BBC.
He added: “We will not surrender, we are standing for Afghanistan.”
Saleh also denied Taliban claims that he had fled the country, and accused Pakistan of helping to support the terrorist forces – something firmly denied by Islamabad.
Usually known for his sharp Western suits, Saleh was filmed wearing a traditional shalwar kameez tunic and a flat woollen pakol cap favoured by Panjshiris.
“The resistance is continuing and will continue,” he added.
Resistance officials claim the Taliban are now on the back foot, with several hundred fighters currently trapped and running out of munitions.
And the militia are fighting under the white, green and black flag of the Northern Alliance, a resistance movement which stood against the Taliban in the 90s.
Saleh has raged against the West’s “betrayal” of Afghanistan as the sudden and muddled withdrawal by US forces is widely credited with allowing the Taliban to surge back to power once again.
British, American and other allied forces defeated the Taliban in 2001 after they allegedly harboured al-Qaeda terrorists who plotted the World Trade Centre attacks on 9/11.
Western nations have spent 20 years trying to rebuild Afghanistan as a new democratic government was installed and brutal laws enacted by the Taliban were ended.
However, the occupation was under constant attack from terrorist forces – and US President Joe Biden had declared his desire to end so-called “forever wars”.
Some 20 years of work was undone in a matter of weeks as the Taliban surged back to power – sometimes unopposed – and recaptured Kabul as Western forces boarded evacuation planes.
“The fighting here is heavy now, with casualties on both sides. The Taliban are using American munitions against us and Blackhawk helicopters are being flown in to reinforce their attacks,” Saleh wrote in the Daily Mail.
‘HUMILIATION OF HUMANITY’
He went on: “The betrayal of Afghanistan by the West is colossal.
“The scenes at Kabul airport in recent days represented the humiliation of humanity, an embarrassment for any nation that has been involved in Afghanistan since the Taliban were routed by the US-led Coalition Force in the aftermath of the 9/11 atrocity.”
When the Taliban last ruled Afghanistan they imposed medieval-style laws with vicious executions, torture and brutal punishments.
The group however appears to be attempting to present a more modern face with a slick PR operation – including an appearance Good Morning Britain – and promises of an “amnesty” for their enemies.
But reports of door-to-door killings are widespread – with any allies of the West particularly at risk.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab today said that Britain will not be recognising the Taliban as Afghanistan’s government “for the foreseeable future”.
He said the Western world needed to “adjust to the new reality” that the brutal insurgents have captured the country and are now in charge.
We will not be recognising the Taliban anytime in the foreseeable future.
It follows the death of a resistance chief who was reportedly killed by the Taliban.
Fahim Dashti, a journalist and spokesman for the Panjshir Resistance, died fighting against the Taliban, reports claim.
Dashti’s official Twitter account was still posting this evening but it may be being run by others.
In addition to being a resistance spokesman, Dashti was also a key member of the Jamiat political party.
He made his last media appearance on BBC Persian last week.
The NRF of Afghanistan released a statement on Facebook saying: “With deep touch and regret, we lost two dear brothers and colleagues and fighters today.
“Fahim Dashty, the head of the office of Amir Saheb Ahmad Masoud, and General Sahib Abdul Wadood Zhor, the nephew of the national hero of Afghanistan in the battle against the fascist group. Congratulations on your martyrdom!”
The ‘Lions of Panjshir’ are holding out in a natural fortress[/caption]
Hundreds have reportedly died in the heavy fighting around the Panjshir Valley[/caption]
Anti-Taliban militias are massing in the Panjshir Valley[/caption]
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