Civilians flee fighting in Afghanistan’s Panjshir valley

Scores of civilians have fled preventing 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 web site of resistance by Afghans towards Soviet forces within the Eighties and as a base for rebels against Taliban rule through the group’s first stint in energy within the late Nineties.

The Nationwide Resistance Entrance (NRF) have 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 because the hardline extremists seized energy in August.

Either side declare to have killed dozens of one another’s fighters in current days.

“We might solely choose up one or two gadgets of clothes,” Lutfullah Bari instructed AFP, saying he fled with dozens of households.

“Like u… [the families] at the moment are residing with their family in several areas of Kabul,” he added.

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

One other civilian, Aimal Rahimi, mentioned folks “are afraid and escaping to save lots of their lives.”

Taliban commanders in Panjshir nonetheless instructed AFP the preventing 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 scenario is now regular and peaceable.”

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 generally known as the “Lion of Panjshir,” was assassinated in 2001 by al-Qaeda, two days earlier than the September 11 assaults in america.

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

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