7 Afghan Taliban killed in Panjshir fighting

Published September 1, 2021
Afghan resistance movement and anti-Taliban uprising forces take part in a military training in Panjshir province on August 30. — AFP
Afghan resistance movement and anti-Taliban uprising forces take part in a military training in Panjshir province on August 30. — AFP

KABUL: Taliban forces clashed with militia fighters in the Panjshir valley north of the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday night, with at least seven killed, two members of the main anti-Taliban opposition group said on Tuesday.

Since the fall of Kabul on Aug 15, Panjshir has been the only province to hold out against the Taliban, although there has also been fighting in neighbouring Baghlan province between Taliban and local militia forces.

Fahim Dashti, a spokesman for the National Resistance Forces, a group loyal to local leader Ahmad Massoud, said the fighting occurred on the western entrance to the valley where the Taliban attacked NRF positions.

He said the attack, which may have been a probe to test the valley’s defences, was repulsed with eight Taliban killed and a similar number wounded, while two members of the NRF forces were wounded.

“Last night, the Taliban attacked Panjshir, but were defeated with 7 dead and several wounded,” Bismillah Mohammadi, a member of the resistance movement who served as a minister under exiled President Ashraf Ghani, said in a tweet.

“They retreated with heavy casualties.”

Massoud, son of the former anti-Soviet mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, has established himself in the Panjshir valley with a force of several thousand.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2021

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