Battle for Panjsher hots up, Taliban claim seizing valley

The battle for northeastern Panjsher province has hotted up, with the Taliban claiming they have captured the strategic valley.

However, the National Resistance Front spurned reports about the fall of Panjsher and former vice-president Amrullah Saleh denied fleeing the country.

Late on Friday, Saleh uploaded a video, suggesting that he was still in Panjsher He vowed to continue with resistance to Taliban fighters, who have captured the rest of the country.

Earlier, a British media outlet quoted Taliban sources as saying they had fully seized the valley. Reuters also reported celebratory gunfire in Kabul.

On the other hand, a spokesman for the Resistance Front rejected media reports about the collapse of Panjsher as mere propaganda.

Fahim Dashti wrote on his Twitter account that more forces had been dispatched to all fronts. He said heavy losses had been inflicted on the Taliban.

Resistance soldiers and residents are reportedly making frenetic effort to leave the embattled valley. Ahmad Massoud is also said to have fled the province.

As fighting raged on, former president Hamid Karzai appealed to both sides to stop fighting and launch tension-defusing negotiations.

Two power pylons were destroyed as a result of intense shelling, causing outages in the province, surrounded by Taliban fighters.

Hundreds of Taliban stormed into Panjsher’s Paryan district from Warsaj in Takhar and Kiran Wa Manjan in Badakhshan.

Saleh wrote: “The resistance is not going to surrender. it’s not going to bow to terrorism. Tt is going to continue. There are difficulties, I have not escaped.”

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