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Taliban invite Pakistan, China to new government ceremony; Panjshir vows persistence

As the top US diplomat flies to Qatar to deal with the aftermath of the chaotic withdrawal, the Taliban announced they had captured the last pocket of resistance in Afghanistan, the Panjshir Valley. In the wake of their lightning-fast rout of Afghanistan’s army last month and celebrations when the last US troops left after 20 years of war, the Taliban turned against the forces protecting the mountainous Panjshir Valley. According to Zabihullah Mujahid, chief spokesman, ‘with this victory, our country is completely free from conflict’.

According to sources, the Taliban have invited Pakistan, Turkey, Qatar, Russia, China and Iran to the ceremony marking the formation of the new government in Afghanistan. At a press conference in Kabul on Monday, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said that the ‘war has ended and they hope for a stable Afghanistan. Anyone taking up arms is the enemy of the country and the people’, He added.

The Resistance Force, however, said that the fight against the Taliban in Panjshir Valley will continue. On Sunday, Fahim Dashty, the spokesperson for the Resistance Force Spokesperson, was killed during fighting with the Taliban in Panjshir. According to sources, he was killed in an indirect shooting that dealt a major blow to the resistance. In addition, the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan issued a statement on Facebook stating, ‘With deep sadness and regret, we mourn the loss of two dear brothers, colleagues and fighters’. General Sahib Abdul Wadood Zhor, the nephew of the national hero of Afghanistan in the battle against the fascist group, and Fahim Dashty, the head of the office of Amir Saheb Ahmad Masoud. ‘I congratulate you on your martyrdom!’

Dashti was a senior member of the Jamiat-e-Islami party and a member of the Federation of Afghan journalists. Sources told CNN-News18 that Panjshir Resistance Force yesterday offered a peace settlement and wanted to resolve things amicably amid continuous assaults by the Taliban, Pakistani and Al Qaeda forces. Since the insurgents took over Kabul in August, fighters from the so-called National Resistance Front (NRF) – made up of anti-Taliban militia and former Afghan security forces – have been holding out against them. ‘Acting’ President Amrullah Saleh, as well as Ahmad Massoud, son of late mujaheedin commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, have been leading efforts against the militant group.

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According to sources, the Resistance Force wants elders to take charge and ‘stop helping with the war, immediately’. A top US general warned that Afghanistan faces a wider civil war that could provide fertile ground for terrorism. Taliban fighters advanced deep into the last holdout province of Panjshir on Sunday, attempting to crush Resistance Forces defending the mountainous valley. Despite their rapid entry into Kabul three weeks ago, analysts say the Taliban have not yet finished finalizing their new regime.



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