Taliban Retake Three Districts in Northeast Baghlan Province

Resistance group in Panjshir Valley wants talks with the Taliban

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A Taliban spokesman said Monday that the group recaptured three districts in Afghanistan’s northeast Baghlan province that fell to anti-Taliban forces over the weekend.

The Baghlan districts of Bano, Deh Saleh, Pul e-Hesar are near the neighboring province of Panjshir and the Panjshir Valley, where an anti-Taliban resistance group is forming.

It’s estimated that there are about 6,000 fighters in or near the Panjshir Valley. Ahmad Massoud, the son of the late mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, has emerged as a figurehead of the Panjshir resistance.

Massoud told Reuters on Sunday that while his group is ready to fight, that he hopes to hold talks with the Taliban to reach a solution. “We want to make the Taliban realize that the only way forward is through negotiation,” he said. “We do not want a war to break out.”

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Monday that Taliban forces were established in areas near Panjshir and that the anti-Taliban fighters were blockaded inside the Panjshir valley. Mujahid said the Taliban was trying to resolve the situation peacefully. “The Islamic Emirate is trying to resolve the issue peacefully,” he said.

The region of Afghanistan around Panjshir appears to be the only area where there is armed resistance to the Taliban, and the Taliban controls virtually all of the country. Taliban leaders are engaged in talks with some former Afghan officials on the structures of a future government, which is expected to be announced soon.

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