Taliban take over Panjshir, in full control of Afghanistan: sources

KABUL: Taliban forces have taken full control of Afghanistan including the Panjshir Valley where opposition forces had been holding out, three Taliban sources said on Friday as heavy celebratory gunfire was heard in the Afghan capital Kabul.

"… We are in control of the entire Afghanistan. The troublemakers have defeated and Panjshir is now under our command," said one Taliban commander.

It was not immediately possible to confirm the reports. Former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, one of the leaders of the opposition forces told Tolo News television station that reports he had fled the country were lies.

Northeastern Panjshir is the only province among Afghanistan’s 34 provinces which has yet to fall to the Taliban.

Ahmed Massoud, the son of anti-Soviet resistance commander Ahmed Shah Massoud, and Amrullah Saleh, the former first vice president of Afghanistan, have refused to submit to the Taliban.

Anti-Taliban fighters in Panjshir Valley said on Friday they were battling to repulse “heavy” assaults, as Taliban seek to capture the last holdout province defying their rule.

Efforts to strike a peace deal between the two sides have failed, and the Taliban are keen to cap their lightning military offensive which saw them seize control of the rest of Afghanistan last month. - Reuters