The Taliban on Monday claimed they have taken control of the northern province of Panjshir—the last major holdout against the militant group in Afghanistan—in a move that now brings all provinces under their control just three weeks after the group overran Kabul amid the withdrawal of the U.S. military and its allies.
In a statement issued on Twitter, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid announced the capture of the Panjshir Valley adding that the group’s victory has taken Afghanistan completely “out of the quagmire of war.”
Mujahid’s statement attempted to assure residents of Panjshir that they will be “not be subjected to any discrimination,” as several families reportedly fled their homes ahead of the Taliban’s arrival.
All eight districts of the Panjshir valley were overrun by thousands of Taliban fighters overnight, the Associated Press reported.
Ahmad Massoud, the head of the Panjshir-based National Resistance Front (NRF) announced on Sunday that his group was ready to cease fighting and continue negotiations with the Taliban as long as they stopped their attack on the region.
Massoud is yet to make a comment on the Taliban’s claim of capturing the province but pictures shared on social media appear to show Taliban fighters standing in front of the Panjshir provincial governor’s compound.
This is a developing story.