The Taliban claimed that it captured Panjshir valley from the rebel forces led by Ahmad Massoud on Monday, September 6. Vice-president in the Ashraf Ghani-led government and another leader of the resistance in Panjshir, Amrullah Saleh, has reportedly fled the country to Tajikistan.
Taliban fighters had surrounded the Panjshir valley on Sunday and cut off all media and communication lines in and out of the valley. There were unconfirmed reports of heavy shelling into the valley, which led a large number of people to flee to the mountains.
On Monday, Taliban’s spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid claimed in a press conference in Kabul that with the fall of Panjshir, the war in the country has officially ended.
14. The fall of Panjshir
Panjshir has fallen to the Taliban with a bang — and a whimper. The bang is because a 40-year old legend lies shattered, the legend of the invincibility of Panjshir Valley. And the whimper is because…https://t.co/VmbHNLZlYR
— M. K. Bhadrakumar (@BhadraPunchline) September 7, 2021
However, Massoud, leader of the National Resistance Front (NRF) in Panjshir, later released a voice note on his Facebook page in which he refuted the claims made by the Taliban. He said that “resistance forces are present in Panjshir and Andarab district of Baghlan province” nearby, and the fight against Taliban will continue.
He also called for a “national uprising” against Taliban rule inside the country. He claimed that the Taliban used the help of foreign forces to attack Panjshir, in which some members of his family have also died.
Though the Taliban rejected the allegations of foreign involvement in the attack on Panjshir, Iran raised concerns over the news and claimed that it is investigating the matter.
Meanwhile, there were reports of protests in Kabul and the northern Balkh province against the alleged involvement of Pakistan in the Taliban takeover of Panjshir valley.
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) September 7, 2021
Several people were reportedly injured when Taliban fighters tried to disperse protesters by firing in the air. Some women protesters were detained by the Taliban fighters at various locations inside Kabul.
Taliban fighters taken dozens of women and kept them in a parking to prevent them joining today’s protest. #Afghanistan
— Zahra Rahimi (@ZahraSRahimi) September 7, 2021
Attempts to resolve the conflict in Panjshir through dialogue failed on Monday after the Taliban refused the proposal of a negotiated settlement put forward by some religious leaders in the country. The Taliban claimed that Massoud was offered a negotiated settlement earlier which he had rejected, forcing them to take Panjshir by force.
A number of Afghanistan’s religious scholars had gathered in Kabul on Sunday and asked for the fight in Panjshir to end. One of the scholars in the meeting, Abdul Qadeer Qanat, asserted that in the absence of foreign troops in the country, the war in Panjshir has no legitimacy. He also warned that if the war continues, Afghanistan will “turn into an ethnically-based and region-based conflict,” Tolonews reported.