The conflict between the Afghan resistance group in Panjshir valley and the Taliban erupted again, resulting in damages claimed by both sides on Thursday, September 2.
After several attempts to attack the last province resisting its rule since the fall of Kabul in Panjshir valley, the Taliban on Wednesday surrounded the area again.
According to Reuters, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid was confident it had entered the valley, under the National Resistance Front (NRF) control, and took some parts of the region.
“We started operations after negotiation with the local armed group failed,” he said, boasting that Taliban fighters had been able to cause significant damage to the resistant force.
The NRF, led by the son of a former Mujahideen commander, Ahmad Massoud, had been able to defend Panjshir against the Taliban’s efforts to take it over. His father was best known for the nickname the “Panjshir lion,” who confronted the militant group in the 1990s.
Reuters said the valley’s steep position had granted it a natural advantage in challenging attacks from the outside.
Contradicting the Taliban’s claims, spokesman for the NRF said they had complete control of all passes and exits and had resisted attempts to conquer Shotul district at the valley’s entrance.
“The enemy made multiple attempts to enter Shotul from Jabul-Saraj, and failed each time,” he said. Jabul-Saraj is a town near Parwan province.
The NRF spokesperson noted the Taliban had not been spared from great losses over conflicts that occurred this week.
“It has been proven to the other side that they cannot resolve this issue through war,” he said of the damages the Taliban had suffered.
According to WION, by Thursday morning, the NRF had announced the 34th Taliban fighter killed and 65 others injured in a total of the conflicts between the forces.
The Taliban was calling for the NRF to lay down their arms as of Thursday. The resistant group’s leader, Massoud had been calling for negotiation before but vowed to respond accordingly if the Taliban demonstrated any threat.
“If the Taliban are willing to reach a power-sharing deal where power is equally distributed and is decentralized, then we can move toward a settlement that is acceptable to everyone,” he said in an email interview with Foreign Policy magazine.
“Anything less than this will be unacceptable to us, and we will continue our struggle and resistance until we achieve justice, equality, and freedom,” Massoud added.
Negotiation efforts between the two forces had failed multiple times, per WION.
“I’m the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud. Surrender is not a word in my vocabulary,” he declared last week, according to DAWN.
NPR reported that Massoud was looking for military aid from Western governments, including the U.S., the U.K., and France.