A group of rebels will stay loyal to the previous Afghan government, and refuse to let a militant group seize control of the Middle Eastern country despite a major setback on Sept. 6.
National Resistance Front (NRF) refused to surrender after Taliban forces declared victory in the last standing region, Panjshir province. NRF military leader Ahmad Massoud vowed to keep standing up for Afghan rights until the very “last moment.”
“In no way military pressure on us and our territory will lessen our resolve to continue our fight but only strengthens our firmness to stand in defense of our dignity, freedom, and the triumph of our people until the last moment,” he said in a statement shared on Facebook.
Massoud rejected Taliban propaganda that NRF failed to negotiate a peace deal. He accused the other side’s fighters of attacking the disputed province while talks were still underway.
“The Taliban started attacking us, which resulted in the killing of a large number of our countrymen including my family members,” he said according to CNN. “[The] Taliban showed their identity and showed that they have no belief in Sharia.”
The remarks came after the militant group claimed it had captured all eight districts of Panjshir Valley, about 134 kilometers (83 miles) northeast of Kabul.
“We tried our best to solve the problem through negotiations and they rejected talks, and then we had to send our forces to fight,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press.
Massoud is the son of famous anti-Soviet and anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud. NRF’s supporters include what is left of the former Afghan government and military.
The current military leader recently mourned the loss of spokesman Fahim Dashti who helped negotiate with the Taliban about Afghanistan’s future. Dashti’s uncle is former Kabul government official Abdullah Abdullah according to the newswire agency.
The Taliban expects to announce a new national government “within days,” after allegedly inviting members from the former government to join.
“We need their expertise,” Mujahid said according to CNBC.
The spokesman promises women will soon be invited to return to work. The Islamist militia earlier asked them to stay at home for their own safety due to the “military situation.”