Afghanistan: Taliban apparently capture Pandjir

As of: 09/06/2021 8:39 a.m.

The Punjir Province was the last area in Afghanistan still held by resistance fighters. The radical Islamic Taliban have now announced that they have brought the province under their control.

The radical Islamic Taliban have also claimed to have conquered the last province held by the Afghan National Resistance Front (NRF). Pandjir had been taken, said Taliban spokesman Sabihullah Mujahid. Eyewitnesses from the area also confirmed to the AP news agency that thousands of Taliban fighters overran the eight districts of Punjir north of Kabul that night.

The Italian aid organization Emergency, which runs a clinic in the village of Anabah, around one kilometer from the provincial capital Bazarak, confirmed on Twitter on Saturday that the Taliban had taken the place.

Conquering Punjir would be a huge success for the Taliban

The NRF stated that it was present in “strategic positions”. “The fight against the Taliban and their partners will continue,” said the group on Twitter. The spokesman for the NRF, Fahim Dashti, was killed in the fighting that night, as confirmed by several sources in the resistance front. A second spokesman for the NRF shared a tweet claiming the Taliban’s claim about the capture of Punjir was false. He himself wrote that the fight would continue until the aggressors were removed from the country.

The Afghan broadcaster “Tolo News” reported that the leader of the NRF, Ahmad Massud, had agreed to negotiate with the Taliban.

A Taliban spokesman shared a picture supposedly showing Taliban fighters outside the governor’s seat in the provincial capital Basarak. A conquest of Pandjir would be an immense success for the Islamists. The Pandjir Valley was already a stronghold of resistance against the Taliban in the 1990s and has never been under their control.

The father of the NRF leader also fought against the Taliban

The Pandjir question was originally intended to be resolved through negotiation. Last week, however, fighting began when, according to Dashti, the Taliban attacked checkpoints at the valley entrance. Since then the fighting had intensified every day.

The resistance front consists of former members of the government, remnants of special forces of the Afghan army and the militia around Massoud, whose father Ahmad Shah Massud fought against the Taliban in the Punjir Valley in the 1990s.

Taliban guarantee protection for aid workers

According to the UN, the Taliban pledged to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers in Afghanistan. The Islamists had promised in talks that aid workers would be able to move freely and safely in the country, said a UN spokesman.

The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffiths, was in Kabul yesterday for talks with the Taliban leadership. Among other things, he met the Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Griffiths then stated that the international community felt an obligation to provide “impartial and independent humanitarian aid” in Afghanistan.

Development Minister wants to continue to help

Development Minister Gerd Müller promised further aid for Afghanistan in the “Rheinische Post” and warned of the approaching winter: “We must now try to send help by all means and continue to try to get those out of the country by all means. who are in danger. ”

He had discussed with the President of the World Health Organization WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “that we support the planned airlift of the WHO to supply hospitals with medicines and vaccines”.

At the end of the week, the foreign ministers of the EU countries agreed on five conditions for limited cooperation with the Taliban. The “operational engagement” with the new rulers is to be gradually increased when the Taliban form a government with the involvement of other political forces in the country and enable people in need of protection to leave the country.

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