Taliban and opposition forces proceed to battle to manage the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul with resistance fighters saying they captured tons of of Taliban troops.
The Nationwide Resistance Entrance (NRF) of Afghanistan, grouping forces loyal to native chief Ahmad Massoud, mentioned on Sunday it surrounded “1000’s of terrorists” in Khawak Cross and the Taliban deserted autos and gear within the Dashte Rewak space.
NRF spokesman Fahim Dashti added “heavy clashes” had been happening.
Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, primarily based within the capital Kabul, reported sources on the bottom mentioned tons of of Taliban fighters had been taken prisoner on Sunday.
“Sources inside the valley are saying the NRF are claiming to have captured about 1,500 Taliban. Apparently, these fighters had been surrounded,” mentioned Stratford.
Dashti wrote on Twitter that Paryan district had been fully emptied of Taliban fighters.
Almost 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.
In the meantime, 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 towards the centre [of the province],” he wrote.
Panjshir is the final Afghan province holding out towards the armed group that swept to energy final month.
Each side claimed to have the higher hand in Panjshir however neither may produce conclusive proof to show it. The Taliban was unable to manage the valley when it dominated Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
US Basic Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers, underscored the tenuous scenario.
“My army estimate is, is that the situations are more likely to develop of a civil conflict. I don’t know if the Taliban goes to have the ability to consolidate energy and set up governance,” Milley mentioned.
If the Taliban can’t quash resistance, it’s going to “in flip result in a reconstitution of al-Qaeda or a development of ISIS or different myriad of terrorist teams” over the subsequent three years, mentioned Milley.
Emergency, an Italian medical support organisation, mentioned Taliban forces had pushed additional into the Panjshir Valley on Friday evening, reaching the village of Anabah the place the group has medical amenities.
‘Fog of conflict’
Invoice Roggio, managing editor of the US-based Lengthy Battle Journal, mentioned on Sunday there was nonetheless a “fog of conflict” with unconfirmed reviews. Each side declare to have inflicted heavy losses on one another.
“The Taliban military has been hardened with 20 years of conflict and make no mistake, the Taliban skilled a military,” Roggio tweeted, including “the percentages had been lengthy” for the Panjshir resistance.
“The Taliban military was injected with a large quantity of weapons and munitions after the US withdrawal and collapse of the ANA [Afghan National Army],” he added.
Ali Maisam Nazary – who shouldn’t be in Panjshir however stays a spokesman for the resistance – mentioned the resistance drive “won’t ever fail”.
However 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 an announcement, Saleh spoke of a “large-scale humanitarian disaster” with 1000’s “displaced by the Taliban onslaught”.
Professional-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 is going to be fairly simple to confirm a video displaying Taliban inside 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.