Scores of civilians have fled after a rebel group launched an attack against Taliban forces in Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley, residents said on Saturday.
The Panjshir Valley is famous for being the site of resistance by Afghans against Soviet forces in the 1980s and as a base for rebels protesting the Taliban regime during the group’s first term in the late 1990s.
The National Resistance Front (NRF) was against the Taliban’s takeover of the country last year by retreating into the Valley.
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Led by the son of the late anti-Taliban commander Ahmed Shah Masood, NRF forces last week declared an offensive against the Taliban – their first since hardline extremists seized power in August.
Both sides have claimed to have killed dozens of each other’s fighters in recent days.
“We could only pick up one or two clothes,” Lutfulla Bari told AFP. He said he fled with dozens of families.
“like us… [the families] Now living with his relatives in different areas of Kabul.
Fareed Ahmed, father of 10, said that he left his district along with several others because of the fighting.
Another civilian, Aimal Rahimi, said people are “fearing and running for their lives.”
Taliban commanders in Panjshir, however, told AFP that fighting had stopped.
“they [NRF fighters] have fled to the mountains,” said Abdul Hamid Khurasani, the head of the Taliban’s elite Badri unit in Panjshir.
“The situation is now normal and peaceful.”
The NRF said its attack would continue in the 12 provinces where its forces were present, mostly in the north of Afghanistan.
Masood, the group’s most iconic figure and known as the “Lion of Panjshir”, was assassinated by al-Qaeda in 2001, two days before the September 11 attacks in the United States.
Her son, Ahmed Masood, has since taken the lead against Taliban forces, calling the extremist regime “illegitimate”.
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