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Sunday, November 26, 2023

Taliban’s Panjshir celebratory gunfire lead to 17 deaths

"Avoid shooting in the air and thank God instead," Mujahid said in a message on Twitter. "Bullets can harm civilians, so don't shoot unnecessarily."

At least 17 people were killed in celebratory gunfire in Kabul, news agencies said on Saturday after Taliban sources said their fighters had seized control of Panjshir, the last province in Afghanistan holding out against the Islamist group.

Leaders of opposition to the Taliban have denied that the province has fallen.

The Shamshad news agency said, “aerial shooting” in Kabul on Friday killed 17 people and wounded 41. Tolo news agency gave a similar toll.

Read more: Tolo network stays on-air despite fear of Taliban

At least 14 people were injured in celebratory firing in Nangarhar province east of the capital, said Gulzada Sangar, spokesman for an area hospital in the provincial capital of Jalalabad.

The gunfire drew a rebuke from the main Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid.

“Avoid shooting in the air and thank God instead,” Mujahid said in a message on Twitter. “Bullets can harm civilians, so don’t shoot unnecessarily.”

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.

Read more: Panjshir falls to Taliban, claims to control 34 districts

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

Reuters with additional input by GVS News Desk