A Taliban spokesman said on Sunday that militant troops had entered Bazarak, the capital of the Afghan province of Panjshir, that day. Next, the leader of the National Resistance Front (GFR), Ahmad Masud, announced on social media that he had accepted the Taliban’s offer of truce talks.
“The German Federal Republic agrees in principle to solve the current problem, to put an end to the fighting immediately and to resume negotiations,” wrote the leader of the National Resistance Front Ahmad Masud on Facebook. “In order to achieve lasting peace, the German Federal Republic is ready for a ceasefire on the condition that the Taliban stop attacks on Panjshir and (part of the neighboring province) Andarab,” he added. Prior to this statement, Afghan media reported that the council of ulema, Muslim scholars, had called on the Taliban to start talks and end fighting in the Panjshir Valley.
Fighting in the Pandjshir Valley
Earlier on Sunday, Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi said on Twitter that many NRF fighters had died in the fighting for the Bazaarak, some had been captured, and their weapons and ammunition seized. Other Taliban Twitter accounts indicate that fighting for the Bazarak is still ongoing.
Meanwhile, Masud reported that hundreds of Taliban surrendered to his forces. The Mujahideen claim that they have successfully surrounded “thousands of terrorists” on one of the mountain passes in the Panjshir province. It was reported that the Taliban had abandoned their vehicles and equipment. German Federal Republic spokesman Fahim Dashti added that “heavy fighting” for the Panjshir Valley was underway.
As AFP emphasizes, communication with the Panjshir Valley is very difficult and therefore it is impossible to verify the reports about the situation there.
The last point of resistance to the Taliban
Since the Taliban took power in nearly all of Afghanistan, the Panjshir Valley is the last unconquered region in the country. From mid-August, several thousand soldiers from the fallen pro-Western government, as well as the GFR fighters led by Masud, gathered in the hard-to-reach valley.
Masud is the son of Ahmad Shah Masud, the leader of the Mujahideen and the Northern Alliance, killed in 2001, who fought the Soviet invasion and the post-communist regime of Mohamed Najibullah, and later the Taliban.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / STRINGER