Anti-Taliban Resistance Takes Back 3 Districts From Insurgents in Afghanistan: Reports

Resistance fighters have reportedly recaptured three districts – Banu, Pol-e-Hesar and De Salah – in Afghanistan’s Baghlan province from the Taliban control. According to media reports on Friday, the anti-Taliban forces fought back to recapture the districts in which 60 Taliban fighters were killed or injured.

Several photos and videos were circulated on social media regarding the apparent clashes that took place between the Taliban fighters and locals to take control over these three districts.

Citing former Afghan government officials, Tajuden Soroush, a senior correspondent for UK-based Persian TV station named Iran International, tweeted, “Local resistances forces in Baghlan province have recaptured Banu and Pol-e-Hesar districts from the Taliban. They are advancing towards the Deh Salah district. About 60 Taliban fighters were killed or injured.” He shared a series of tweets about the apparent clash in the province.

However, there was some conflicting reports on social media about the heavy fighting between the Taliban and resistance fighters and the situation on the ground.

Meanwhile, Kabul has been largely calm, except in and around the airport where 12 people have been killed since Sunday, NATO and Taliban officials said.

A resistance movement was forming in the Panjshir Valley, led by deposed vice-president Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Massoud, the son of Afghanistan’s most famed anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud.

Ahmad Massoud said he was “ready to follow in his father’s footsteps”.

The Panjshir Valley north of country’s capital Kabul is the final major centre of resistance to the Taliban, but analysts say the fighters gathered there will struggle if the Islamist hardliners launch a full-scale attack.

Surrounded by the high peaks of the Hindu Kush north of Kabul, the Panjshir has long had a reputation as a bastion of resistance — legendary military commander Ahmad Shah Massoud successfully defended it during the Soviet-Afghan War and the civil war with the Taliban up to his death in 2001.

Right now, it is the only part of the country confirmed to be beyond Taliban control after a lightning offensive saw the rest of the country quickly capitulate.

Former top government official Abdullah Abdullah on Friday posted photos on Facebook of him and former president Hamid Karzai meeting with elders and resistance commanders in the province — just days after the pair met with Taliban leaders.

Saleh, who formerly headed Afghanistan’s intelligence service that worked closely with the West, said, “I will never be under one ceiling with the Taliban.”

Small, isolated protests have also been held in cities in Afghanistan this week, with Afghans waving the country’s black, red and green flags.

Taliban fighters fired guns to disperse dozens of Afghans in Jalalabad who waved the flag on Wednesday.

At the first Friday prayers since the fall of the country to Taliban rule, there were appeals for Afghans to give the new regime a chance.

Gunmen flanked an Islamic scholar as he delivered a fiery speech to a packed Kabul mosque for the most important prayers of the week.

(with inputs from AFP)

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