At least seven Taliban reported killed in Panjshir fighting

taliban says hundreds of fighters head for holdout valley

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Dubai: The Taliban said on Sunday that “hundreds” of its fighters are heading to the Panjshir Valley, one of the few areas in Afghanistan that are not yet controlled by the organization.

Since the Taliban occupied Afghanistan, some former government troops began to gather in Panjshir, north of Kabul, which has been known as an anti-Taliban fortress.

“Hundreds of Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate are heading towards the state of Panjshir to control it, after local state officials refused to hand it over peacefully,” the group wrote on its Arabic Twitter account.

Since the Taliban took control of the country following a lightning charge into the capital Kabul, thousands of people have made their way to Panjshir according to a spokesman for anti-Taliban forces.

In Panjshir, Ahmad Massoud, the son of legendary mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud who was assassinated by Al-Qaeda two days before the September 11, 2001 attacks, has sought to assemble a force of around 9,000 people to counter the militants, the spokesman, Ali Maisam Nazary, told AFP.

Photos taken by AFP during the training exercise showed that dozens of recruits were performing fitness procedures and a few armored Hummers drove through the valleys in northeastern Kabul.

Nazari said the organization hopes to promote the establishment of a new government system, but is ready to fight when needed.

“Government forces came to Panjshir from several Afghan provinces,” Massoud told Saudi Arabia s Al-Arabiya broadcaster Sunday.

“The Taliban will not last long if it continues on this path. We are ready to defend Afghanistan and we warn of a bloodshed.”

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