Taliban warn to attack last remaining province of Panjshir if negotiated settlement not reached.
By Shadi Khan Saif
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – The anti-Taliban resistance movement in Afghanistan claimed to have made inroads in the northern Baghlan province as talks to form a new government continue.
Fighters of the so-called “Resistance-2” against the Taliban in the Panjshir province — the only province still out of the Taliban control — said they managed to retake the Salah and Banu districts in neighboring areas after killing “dozens” of Taliban fighters.
The reports were not confirmed by independent sources as the country reels from the fall of the government to the Taliban last week.
Ahmed Massoud, the leader of this resistance, told London-based daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat that the group was ready for “an inclusive government with the Taliban” through political negotiations.
The Taliban have also shown willingness to politically accommodate Massoud, his uncle Ahmad Wali, and other figures in Panjshir.
One of the group’s spokesmen, Mohammad Naeem, has warned that if the issue of Panjshir is not resolved via dialogue, a military solution is on the cards.
“The small point of Panjshir is remaining, our policy is right from the beginning that we want to resolve the issue via talks before violence.”
The local Shamshad News has reported that the Taliban’s fierce “Red Unit” is all set to storm Panjshir, waiting for orders.
Earlier, he said on Saturday that talks and consultations were underway in this connection.
Meanwhile, all banks, forex markets, and much of the public and private business remained closed across Afghanistan.
Warning the Taliban of deadly consequences, head of a splinter faction of Jamiat-e-Islami party, Atta Mohammad Noor, stressed in a video statement that an inclusive government should be formed or the past tragedies would repeat.
Sources told Anadolu Agency that the Taliban are busy in consultation for a future setup as talks continued to ensure their control over the last remaining province of Panjshir, which has not fallen to the group despite their sweeping advances nationwide.
Former chief peace broker Abdullah Abdullah, also a native Panjshir resident, has been spearheading talks between the two sides for days now.
“We met with the elders, religious scholars, representatives & commanders of Panjshir Province in my residence in Kabul. We discussed the current developments in the country, & ways of supporting peace & stability,” he tweeted on Saturday.
This followed a strongly worded statement by former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, also a native resident of Panjshir, who blasted the US and NATO last week for failing the Afghans.
Saleh, a former intelligence chief with known deep ties with the US’ CIA, called his loyalists to join the fight against the Taliban.
The Taliban — who are now in command of the government in Kabul — announced that they had declared an “amnesty” for everyone in Afghanistan and called on citizens to return to work.