At least 17 killed in celebratory gunfire in Kabul: reports

KABUL: At least 17 people were killed in celebratory gunfire in Kabul, news agencies said on Saturday, after Taliban sources said their fighters had seized control of Panjshir, the last province in Afghanistan holding out against the group.

Leaders of opposition to the Taliban have denied that the province has fallen.

The Shamshad news agency said “aerial shooting” in Kabul on Friday killed 17 people and wounded 41. Tolo news agency gave a similar toll.

At least 14 people were injured in celebratory firing in Nangarhar province east of the capital, said Gulzada Sangar, spokesman for an area hospital in the provincial capital of Jalalabad.

The gunfire drew a rebuke from the main Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid.

In Panjshir, former vice president Amrullah Saleh, holed out alongside Ahmad Massoud — the son of legendary anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud — admitted the perilous position of the National Resistance Front (NRF).

“The situation is difficult, we have been under invasion,” Saleh said in a video message.

Usually known for his sharp Western suits, Saleh was filmed wearing a traditional shalwar kameez tunic and a flat woollen pakol cap favoured by Panjshiris.

“The resistance is continuing and will continue,” he added.

Taliban and resistance tweets suggested the key district of Paryan had changed hands several times in the last few days, but that could not be independently verified.

Fighters from the so-called NRF — made up of anti-Taliban militia and former Afghan security forces — are understood to have stockpiled a significant armoury in the valley, around 80 kilometres north of Kabul and guarded by a narrow gorge. – Reuters/AFP