Civilians flee fighting in Afghanistan’s Panjshir valley

Scores of civilians have fled combating in Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley after an rebel group launched an offensive towards Taliban forces, residents mentioned Saturday.

The Panjshir Valley is famed for being a website of resistance by Afghans towards Soviet forces within the Eighties and as a base for rebels against Taliban rule in the course of the group’s first stint in energy within the late Nineteen Nineties.

The National Resistance Front (NRF) had been the final to carry out towards the Taliban’s takeover of the nation final yr by retreating to the valley.

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Headed by the son of late anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, NRF forces final week introduced an offensive towards the Taliban – their first for the reason that hardline extremists seized energy in August.

Both sides declare to have killed dozens of one another’s fighters in latest days.

“We could only pick up one or two items of clothing,” Lutfullah Bari instructed AFP, saying he fled with dozens of households.

“Like us… [the families] are now living with their relatives in different areas of Kabul,” he added.

Farid Ahmad, a father-of-10, mentioned he left his district with a number of different individuals due to combating.

Another civilian, Aimal Rahimi, mentioned individuals “are afraid and escaping to save their lives.”

Taliban commanders in Panjshir nonetheless instructed AFP the combating had stopped.

“They [NRF fighters] have escaped to the mountains,” mentioned Abdul Hamid Khurasani, head of the Taliban’s elite Badri unit in Panjshir.

“The situation is now normal and peaceful.”

The NRF mentioned their offensive would proceed throughout 12 provinces the place their forces had a presence, principally within the north of Afghanistan.

Massoud, the group’s most revered determine and referred to as the “Lion of Panjshir,” was assassinated in 2001 by al-Qaeda, two days earlier than the September 11 assaults within the United States.

His son, Ahmad Massoud, has since picked up the mantle towards Taliban forces, denouncing the extremist regime as “illegitimate.”

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