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The Taliban have lost at least seven fighters as the Islamist group, which now controls most of Afghanistan, clashed with resistance fighters from the Panjshir Valley as part of efforts to consolidate power and form a government.

On Tuesday, representatives of the main anti-Taliban militia, the National Resistance Front (NRF), claimed that the Taliban troops were pushed back after trying to enter the Panjshir Valley, the only one of the 34 provinces that remains completely out of their control. The most southwestern point of the province is just 80 kilometers north of Kabul.

Fighting took place at the western entrance to the valley after the Taliban attempted to move against NRF positions on Monday evening, said Fahim Dashti, a militia spokesman loyal to local leader Ahmad Massoud. He added that eight Taliban fighters were killed and the same number were injured, according to Reuters. The NRF suffered only two injuries.



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Another member of the resistance movement, Bismillah Mohammadi, who served as a minister under ousted President Ashraf Ghani, estimated the number of Taliban dead at seven. “Last night the Taliban attacked Panjshir, but were defeated with 7 dead and several wounded. Our people should not worry… This homeland will be liberated ”, he tweeted, adding that the enemy had withdrawn with heavy losses.

The Taliban have not commented on the losses, as the new Afghan leadership reportedly continues to seek a negotiated settlement while attempting to form a government in Kabul.

Ali Nazary, NRF’s foreign relations official, said the group was not interested in the Taliban’s proposals because they fell far short of their demands.


“The problem is, they don’t want to make any concessions. And we are not prepared to accept any kind of political system that is not inclusive ”, Nazary was quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

Local leader Ahmad Massoud Massoud is the son of famous Mujahedin commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, who repelled Soviet advances four decades ago. The NRF claims to have a force of several thousand, with their numbers inflated by the remnants of the Afghan army. Panjshir politicians claim their forces also have military equipment such as helicopters, the WSJ said.

The group remains committed to protecting the valley’s population of over 170,000, mostly ethnic Tajik people. Neighboring Tajikistan is believed to be supporting Massoud’s forces, after military helicopters from Dushanbe were spotted in the valley.

Last week, it was reported that local militias from neighboring Baghlan had expelled Taliban members from three districts, but only one was recaptured soon after. The Taliban now claim to have taken over all three. Amid continued local resistance, Taliban leaders have also reportedly killed popular folk singer Fawad Andarabi in Baghlan province. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the AP the group would investigate the incident.



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While the Taliban have sent significant forces to the region, it is clear that the Islamist group still faces considerable armed opposition. IS-K (Islamic State Khorasan), the breakaway jihadist group now operating in Afghanistan, claimed that nearly 30 Taliban operatives were killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul last Thursday, an event which also highlights the scale of the opposition the Taliban face.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Taliban celebrated the complete withdrawal of US troops from the country, firing ammunition into the air after the last US plane left Kabul airport.

Speaking later Tuesday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told a press conference that the Taliban will form a government in the coming days. The Islamist group has pledged to form an inclusive government, although many doubt the promise will be kept.

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