Taliban say they have retaken three northern districts seized by Afghan militias

Districts of Bano, Deh Saleh, Pul e-Hesar in Baghlan province were taken by local militia groups


Reuters August 23, 2021
Taliban fighters march in uniforms on the street in Qalat, Zabul Province, Afghanistan, in this still image taken from social media video uploaded August 19, 2021 and obtained by REUTERS. PHOTO: Reuters

Taliban forces have recaptured three districts in northern Afghanistan that fell to local militia groups last week, a spokesperson said on Monday.

The districts of Bano, Deh Saleh, Pul e-Hesar in Baghlan province were taken by local militia groups in one of the first signs of armed resistance to the Taliban since their seizure of the capital Kabul on Aug 15.

By Monday, Taliban forces had cleared the districts and were established in Badakhshan, Takhar and Andarab near the Panjshir valley, according to the Twitter account of spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

Also read: Anti-Taliban leader Massoud says negotiation only way forward

Forces loyal to Ahmad Massoud, son of the anti-Soviet mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, have established themselves in the Panjshir valley, a mountainous area northwest of Kabul which resisted the Taliban before 2001.

Massoud, whose forces include remnants of regular army and special forces units, has called for negotiations to form an inclusive government for Afghanistan but has promised to resist if Taliban forces try to enter the valley.

Late on Sunday, the Taliban's Alemarah information service said hundreds of fighters were heading towards Panjshir but there has been no immediate confirmation of any fighting.

Zabihullah Mujahid said the Salang Pass, on the main highway running from southern Afghanistan to the north, was open and enemy forces were blockaded in the Panjshir valley. But his statement suggested that there was no fighting for the moment.

"The Islamic Emirate is trying to resolve the problems peacefully," Zabihullah said.

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