Panjshir Valley completely captured: Taliban
Kabul, Sep 06: The last pocket of resistance in Afghanistan, the Panjshir Valley, had been "completely captured", claimed Taliban on Monday.
"Panjshir province, the last stronghold of the mercenary enemy, was completely conquered. With the help of God Almighty and with the broad support of our nation, our latest efforts for the complete security of the country and the province have paid off," Taliban chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.
The anti-Taliban forces had been led by the former vice president, Amrullah Saleh, and also the son of the iconic anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud who was killed just days before the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
Massoud's son Ahmad had issued a statement Sunday, calling for an end to the fighting that had been blistering in recent days. The young British-schooled Massoud said his forces were ready to lay down their weapons but only if the Taliban agreed to end their assault.
Late on Sunday dozens of vehicles loaded with Taliban were seen swarming into Panjshir Valley.
There has been no statement from Saleh, Afghanistan's former vice president who had declared himself the acting president after Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Aug. 15 as the Taliban reached the gates of the capital. The Taliban subsequently entered the presidency building that day.
In his statement, Mujahid sought to assure residents of Panjshir that they would be safe - even as scores of families reportedly fled into the mountains ahead of the Taliban's arrival. "We give full confidence to the honorable people of Panjshir that they will not be subjected to any discrimination, that all are our brothers, and that we will serve a country and a common goal," Mujahid said in his statement.
The insurgent group also lowered the Afghanistan national flag from the Governor's office and was also removed from the walls of the Kabul.
Local media showed Taliban members standing in front of the gate of the Panjshir provincial governor's compound.
with PTI inputs