There has been no statements from Saleh, Massoud
THE Taliban said on Monday that they have seized the last province not in their control after their blitz through Afghanistan last month, apparently overrunning forces who had opposed their takeover. Thousands of Taliban fighters charged into eight districts of Panjshir province overnight, according to witnesses from the area. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed that the province was now held by their fighters. “There is no need for any more fighting,” Mujahid said at the news conference. “All Panjshir people and those who live in Panjshir are our brothers and they are part of our country.” “We tried our best to solve the problem through negotiations, and they rejected talks and then we had to send our forces to fight,” Mujahid told a news conference in Kabul later on Monday. The resisting forces were led by the former Vice President, Amrullah Saleh, and also the son of the iconic anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud. There has been no statement from Saleh.
The whereabouts of Saleh and the young Massoud were not immediately known Monday. In a second statement Monday, a now-defiant Massoud accused the Taliban of attacking even as they were ready to agree to a ceasefire. He vowed to fight on, urged Afghans to join in their battle against the Taliban and chastised the international community for giving the Taliban a platform by opening negotiations with them. Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, 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.
The Taliban had stepped up their assault on Panjshir on Sunday, tweeting that their forces overran Rokha district, one of the largest in the province. Mujahid also told reporters that the Taliban would announce a new Government “within days” — one that would be inclusive, he said, without elaborating.