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The Panjshir question and how much area the Taliban controls

By focusing on Kabul, the world forgot the toughest district to conquer

SAMAA | - Posted: Aug 17, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 months ago
Editing & Writing | Mahim Maher
Posted: Aug 17, 2021 | Last Updated: 4 months ago

Right now, the Taliban do not control all of Afghanistan. Fresh news has suggested that Parwan district next to Kabul, Maidan Murd, Nuristan, the forces are still surrendering. All the media eyes were on Kabul, so we did not see what was happening in the rugged terrain around Kabul and small provinces. The Taliban continue to advance.

The most important area, which the Taliban could not capture in 1994 and later is Panjshir valley, which is 150km from Kabul. You can only access it through the Panjshir pass. This was the turf of Ahmad Shah Massoud, a Tajik, who was killed shortly after 9/11 by an Al Qaeda suicide bomber. And so through the help of the Northern Alliance then we saw American control. Right now, for three weeks the Taliban have been advancing to Panjshir valley but have not been able to take it.

By many accounts Panjshir has not fallen. But after Kabul fell Ahmad Shah Massoud’s son went to Pakistan. The Northern Alliance’s Khalid Noor, Salahuddin Rabbani, Mir Rehman Rehmani, Mohammad Younus Qanooni. And now recent reports say that Ahmad Shah Massoud’s son is back in Panjshir valley. But right now in the Panjshir valley there is fighting and negotiations. 

The Taliban are saying that the militia should surrender after negotiations. And I think that Ahmad Shah Massoud’s son will surrender it through negotiations because the last time the Taliban were trying to conquer Panjshir valley they did not have air power. But now they do after the fall of Kandahar, Ghazni, Kabul, Kunduz. They can take it by force but do not want bloodshed. They want to take Panjshir through dialogue. They will put Ahmad Shah Massoud’s son and Abdullah Abdullah at the table. Abdullah and Karzai were going to Doha today for this but their flight was delayed.
When Mullah Baradar comes, he will not go from Doha to Kabul. He will go to Kandahar. He will then meet three supreme commanders: Mullah Hibatullah Akhunzada, Mullah Yaqub and Sirajuddin Haqqani. It seems that this troika is near Kandahar or in it. Mullah Baradar, the political face of the Taliban, and the rest will then head to Kabul to announce their government.

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