‘Heavy casualties on both sides’ in the battle for Afghanistan’s last bastion of freedom: Thousands of rebel troops clash with Taliban forces in last region to resist the Islamists

Some of the thousands of resistance fighters amassed in Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley clashed with Taliban forces again on Thursday, with both sides claiming to have inflicted heavy casualties.

It comes after the the rebel group – the National Resistance Front (NRF) – said yesterday it had killed dozens of Taliban who tried to advance into a narrow gorge at the entrance to the valley.

Following the fall of Kabul on August 15, several thousand rebels from local militias and the remnants of Afghan army and special forces units have massed in the last province resisting Taliban rule.

The rugged snow-capped valley, which begins around 50 miles north of Kabul, is the last bastion of freedom in Afghanistan.

Under the leadership of Ahmad Massoud, son of a former anti-Soviet Mujahideen commander, they have been holding out in the province, a steep valley that makes attacks from outside difficult and that has a reputation for having never been taken.

The valley has a storied history of fighting in recent years, having been used as a stronghold against the Soviets in the 1980s, and again against the Taliban in the 90s.

Efforts to negotiate a settlement between the rebels and Taliban appear to have broken down, with each side blaming the other for the failure of talks as the new Afghan rulers prepared to announce a government.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the group’s fighters had entered Panjshir and taken control of some territory.

‘We started operations after negotiation with the local armed group failed,’ he said. ‘They suffered heavy losses.’

However a spokesman for the NRF said it had full control of all passes and entrances and had driven back efforts to take Shotul district at the entrance to the valley.

Click here to read more.
Source: Daily Mail