Taliban and opposition forces proceed to battle to manage the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul with resistance fighters saying they captured hundreds of Taliban troops.
The National Resistance Front (NRF) of Afghanistan, grouping forces loyal to native chief Ahmad Massoud, mentioned on Sunday it surrounded “thousands of terrorists” in Khawak Pass and the Taliban deserted autos and tools within the Dashte Rewak space.
NRF spokesman Fahim Dashti added “heavy clashes” had been occurring.
Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, based mostly within the capital Kabul, reported sources on the bottom mentioned hundreds of Taliban fighters had been taken prisoner on Sunday.
“Sources within the valley are saying the NRF are claiming to have captured about 1,500 Taliban. Apparently, these fighters were surrounded,” mentioned Stratford.
Dashti wrote on Twitter that Paryan district had been utterly emptied of Taliban fighters.
Nearly 1,000 Taliban fighters had been both killed, wounded, or taken captive after the exit route behind them was closed off, Dashti mentioned. The data couldn’t be verified independently.
Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi mentioned on Twitter on Sunday its forces seized 5 of the province’s seven districts. Karimi mentioned Khinj and Unabah districts had been taken, he mentioned.
“The Mujahideen [Taliban fighters] are advancing toward the centre [of the province],” he wrote.
Panjshir is the final Afghan province holding out in opposition to the armed group that swept to energy final month.
Both sides claimed to have the higher hand in Panjshir however neither might produce conclusive proof to show it. The Taliban was unable to manage the valley when it dominated Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
US General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, underscored the tenuous scenario.
“My military estimate is, is that the conditions are likely to develop of a civil war. I don’t know if the Taliban is going to be able to consolidate power and establish governance,” Milley mentioned.
If the Taliban can not quash resistance, it is going to “in turn lead to a reconstitution of al-Qaeda or a growth of ISIS or other myriad of terrorist groups” over the following three years, mentioned Milley.
Emergency, an Italian medical assist organisation, mentioned Taliban forces had pushed additional into the Panjshir Valley on Friday night time, reaching the village of Anabah the place the group has medical amenities.
‘Fog of war’
Bill Roggio, managing editor of the US-based Long War Journal, mentioned on Sunday there was nonetheless a “fog of war” with unconfirmed studies. Both sides claim to have inflicted heavy losses on one another.
“The Taliban army has been hardened with 20 years of war and make no mistake, the Taliban trained an army,” Roggio tweeted, including “the odds were long” for the Panjshir resistance.
“The Taliban army was injected with a massive amount of weapons and munitions after the US withdrawal and collapse of the ANA [Afghan National Army],” he added.
Ali Maisam Nazary – who is just not in Panjshir however stays a spokesman for the resistance – mentioned the resistance drive “will never fail”.
But former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who’s holed out in Panjshir alongside Massoud – the son of legendary anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud – warned of a grim scenario.
In a press release, Saleh spoke of a “large-scale humanitarian crisis” with hundreds “displaced by the Taliban onslaught”.
Pro-Taliban social media have boasted of capturing swaths of the valley, however Nick Waters from the investigative web site Bellingcat mentioned the posts didn’t embody verifiable pictures to again up the claims.
“It will be quite easy to verify a video showing Taliban within the Panjshir valley,” Waters mentioned.
The Panjshir Valley, surrounded by jagged snow-capped peaks, presents a pure defensive benefit, with fighters melting away within the face of advancing forces, then launching ambushes firing from the excessive tops down into the valley.