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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Panjshir falls to Taliban, claims to control 34 districts

As Panjshir falls to Taliban, the group has gained control of 34 districts and Afghan VP flees to Tajikistan leaving residents in state of disarray. The residents who had been facing the brunt of relentless fighting for days now wish for peace that could alleviate their miseries.

Panjshir falls to Taliban finally amid intensified fighting between the Taliban soldiers and resistance forces in the northern province of Afghanistan, country’s last rebel stronghold. Taliban have captured the northern province largest district, Paryan that was the last hold-out against the group.

Sources confirm that Taliban has gained control of 34 districts in Panjshir Valley and unofficial sources say that Afghan former VP Amrullah Saleh might have fled to Tajiskistan. this source is yet to confirm

Chaos heightens as Panjshir falls to Taliban

Residents in nearby areas of neighbouring Paryan province say it has been four days that their lives have been disrupted by the intensified battles between the Taliban and forces being commanded by Ahmad Massoud, the son of slain commander, Ahmad Shah Massoud.

As Taliban took control of Panjshir and largest district Paryan, chaos among the residents has  exacerbated. Amrullah Saleh, former vice president of Afghanistan and Ahmad Shah Masood, the commander of Panjshir resistance force has disappeared out of sight leaving the resistance forces and residents at the mercy of Taliban fighters, some unofficial sources said.

Panjshir falls to Taliban after failed negotiated attempts 

The Taliban leaders say attempts for a negotiated settlement have failed as the group prepares to announce the formation of a new government weeks after they captured power.

“The fighting has gotten worse and worse with each night,” Asadullah, 52, told Al Jazeera. He and other residents of Jab al-Seraj district of Parwan say the fighting is mainly relegated to the mountains, but that most residents have still fled the area.

Increased fighting, residents say, has forced at least 400 families to flee from the villages along the road that would normally lead to Panjshir’s calm, green valleys – about 125km (78 miles) north of the capital, Kabul.

Smoke could be seen billowing from the distant mountain as the Taliban engaged in a battle to take control of the last of the country’s 34 provinces.

Read more: Taliban battle for final holdout province of Panjshir

Afghan soldiers took refuge in Panjshir

Some residents said in the days leading to the August 15 fall of Kabul, they saw former Afghan National Army soldiers from the provinces of Kunduz, Baghlan, Kapisa, Parwan and Takhar heading towards Panjshir after those provinces fell.

The residents said those soldiers were transporting military vehicles and equipment with them, but with little information coming in and out of Panjshir, it is difficult to verify those claims or to know how much of them have been used in recent days.

 

As has been the case throughout much of the Afghan conflict, women and children flee to nearby cities, in this case, Parwan’s capital Charikar and Kabul itself, while the men stay behind to protect the homes

Read more: Anti-Taliban resistance spreading in Afghanistan: Ahmed Shah Massoud’s brother

What’s next as Panjshir falls to Taliban?

“Both sides speak of the Quran and say they’re Muslim, but what are they each doing, killing other Muslims. It must end,” said Shir Agha, a Parwan resident in his late 30s.

For the remaining residents in Jab al-Seraj, it is not just the fighting that has become an issue. They say their areas, which were highly reliant on domestic tourism to the Panjshir Valley, are struggling due to the closing of the valley and from the nationwide banking issues.

Like other cities, Charikar is suffering from a lack of cash as banks struggle to reopen and many offices have shut since the Taliban took over.

With most government and private offices still closed and the tourist economy taking a plunge, Golbahar says the economic threat is just as, if not more, dangerous than the war.

“They could fight for another 10 years killing each other, but we will all die of hunger well before.”

As Panjshir falls to Taliban, residents can only hope for better future for Panjshir valley in the form of good governance and effective roadmap for economic and social development.