The Taliban Islamic fundamentalist group said it had conquered the area that was not yet under its control in Afghanistan, the Panjshir Valley.
The information was given to the Reuters news agency by three Taliban authorities in Kabul. In the capital, gunfire and fireworks were reported in celebration of the supposed achievement, as well as in Facebook reports from support groups for Afghanistan’s new owners.
In a video sent to the BBC network, one of the leaders of the so-called National Resistance Front, former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, said that “we are undoubtedly in a difficult situation under Taliban invasion, but we have held onto our territory and resisted” .
It seems unlikely. In a message sent to Folha by a former Afghan Foreign Ministry official, a spokesman for the Front admits that the group is weakened and asks that negotiations with the Taliban be resumed.
After failed negotiations, the group resumed its offensive in the well-protected region, 100 km northeast of Kabul and surrounded by the peaks of the Hindu Kush, on Thursday (2).
“We will defend ourselves anyway. All evidence points to foreign warriors from terrorist groups who have joined the Taliban in this attack. They have chosen to attack, although the door to negotiation is open,” the statement said.
The Taliban conquered all of Afghanistan, except Panjshir, in an overwhelming action that lasted two weeks and ended with the takeover of Kabul on 15 August.
No one knows how many soldiers, most of them special forces from the former Afghan Army, are in the valley — a traditionally anti-Taliban region, so much so that it never surrendered the first time the fundamentalist group was in power (1996-2001) .
In any case, the Front does not seem to have the military strength to face the Taliban, even more so in its steroid version with weapons seized from the Army and the US.
The victory in the Panjshir, if consummated, puts the Taliban in the final position of sole power in Afghanistan, facilitating its dialogue with foreign powers that are already looking to settle for some kind of accommodation.
The price charged abroad so far is moderation on human rights issues, especially women’s, and other points that were violently attacked by the Taliban in its previous government — overthrown by the US for harboring al Qaeda, which carried out the September 11 in 2001.
The Taliban maintains it will maintain a moderate line, something that faces a reality test: reports of harassment by adversaries mix with permission for protests by women in Kabul.
Twenty years later, the Americans withdrew from Afghanistan and, unlike their invasion, did not support the Panjshir rebels. The military leader of today is the son of the commander at that time, both named Ahmad Massoud.