On Thursday night, September 2, heavy clashes occured around Afghanistan’s northern Panjshir Valley between Taliban fighters and an anti-Taliban group, according to a source within the group.
Panjshir Valley, a mountainous, inaccessible region north of Kabul, is the last major stronghold holding out against Taliban rule, and has a long history of resisting the insurgent group.
But following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, with the exception of the Panjshir region that is controlled by the NRF, the Taliban advanced into the region on Thursday night.
The Taliban have been massing forces in and around Panjshir province in recent weeks, and said on Monday they had captured three districts in the valley.
But the NRF said Thursday’s overnight clashes between the Taliban and the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF) were very intense.
Earlier on Thursday, Fahim Dashti, an NRF spokesperson, said in an audio message that the Taliban lost 40 of their forces in their ongoing attempts to enter Panjshir. Ali Nazary, another spokesperson from the group, said Thursday that the Taliban had also lost a number of heavy equipment and weaponry that had been destroyed.
Current NRF leader
On Wednesday, a Taliban leader called on Panjshiris to accept an amnesty and avoid fighting, but acknowledged that negotiations had thus far yielded no result. He said the situation “should be resolved peacefully,” but did not directly address the claims of renewed fighting and casualties.
After the USSR, which controlled Kabul in the 1980s, withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, various factions of Islamic holy warriors split into groups, fighting for control of the country.
The Northern Alliance also known as the NRF was soon formed and led by Ahmad Shah Massoud.
Massoud led an anti-Taliban offensive until he was assassinated by al Qaeda operatives two days before the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The NRF, is now led by Massoud’s son, Ahmad Massoud, who has vowed to continue the fight against the Taliban in the wake of their near takeover of Afghanistan.
People fleeing the Taliban, including the former Afghan Vice President, Amrullah Saleh, have also sought refuge in the Valley.