The Taliban said Monday that they had captured the last pocket of resistance in Afghanistan, the Panjshir Valley, because the top US diplomat flies to Qatar to undertake and handle the aftermath of the chaotic American withdrawal.
The Panjshir Valley is famed for being the location of resistance to Soviet forces within the 1980s and therefore the Taliban within the late 1990s. Following their lightning-fast rout of Afghanistan’s army last month and celebrations when the last US troops flew out after 20 years of war, the Taliban turned to fight the forces defending the mountainous Panjshir Valley.
“With this victory, our country is totally taken out of the quagmire of war,” chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. However, the National Resistance Front (NRF) — made from anti-Taliban militia and former Afghan security forces — said its fighters were still present in “strategic positions” across the valley, which they were continuing the struggle.
“We assure the people of Afghanistan that the struggle against the Taliban and their partners will continue until justice and freedom prevails,” the NRF tweeted in English.
The Taliban are yet to finalise their new regime after rolling into Kabul three weeks ago at a speed that analysts say likely surprised even the hard-line Islamists themselves.
Afghanistan’s new rulers have pledged to be more “inclusive” than during their first stint in power, which also came after years of conflict — first the Soviet invasion of 1979, then a bloody war . they need promised a government that represents Afghanistan’s complex ethnic makeup — though women are unlikely to be included at the highest levels.