The Taliban killed one of the prominent leaders of the sole resistance force in Afghanistan on Friday, Sept. 11.
The leader, Rohullah Azizi, and his driver were shot to death in their car at a checkpoint north of Panjshir valley, the Associated Press reported. It was unclear where he was heading before being confronted by Taliban forces.
Rohullah Azizi was the brother of former vice president of Afghanistan, Amrullah Saleh. He joined the anti-Taliban force in Panjshir province as the former government collapsed and became one of the group’s top leaders.
“As we hear at the moment [the] Taliban shot him and his driver at the checkpoint,” Azizi’s nephew Shuresh Saleh told the outlet.
“They executed my uncle,” another nephew told Reuters. “They killed him yesterday and would not let us bury him. They kept saying his body should rot.”
The Panjshir force, or the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF), had been able to resist the Taliban’s grasp up until this week.
The Taliban on Monday declared that it had taken the last standing province of Afghanistan, claiming that negotiation attempts had failed.
“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, according to AP.
He also used soft words to console Panjshir locals that they would be safe, among reports that some families had fled into the mountains before the Taliban’s arrival.
“There is no need for any more fighting,” Mujahid said. “All Panjshir people and those who live in Panjshir are our brothers and they are part of our country.”
But as the AP noted, footage of Taliban fighters executing Panjshir residents had emerged on social media. Yet, the videos had not been validated given that the Taliban had cut off internet access in the region as it tried to crackdown the force.
According to Reuters, local leader Ahmad Massoud of the NRF forces had vowed to keep resisting even after Panjsir capital Bazarak was taken. Before the fall, Massoud had said he did not want war but would resist invasion attempts by the Taliban.