Heavy Clashes have erupted between Taliban fighters and a militant group, National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF).
The fighters have been involved in a fierce battle around Afghanistan’s Northern Panjshir Valley in the past two weeks.
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Panjshir is the last major territory to be conquered by the Taliban in its quest to overrun Afghanistan.
The NRF, which says it has about 10,000 fighters, is made up of various local militias and former Afghan security force members.
It is led by the Western-educated son of legendary mujahedeen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was assassinated in the days leading up to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The elder Massoud famously helped fight both the Soviet army and the Taliban to a standstill from his stronghold in the Panjshir Valley, situated in the Hindu Kush mountains.
“They (Taliban) are using their last power to get in, but clashes are still ongoing,” CNN quoted a source to have said.
In an audio message, an NRF spokesperson, Fahim Dashti, had said the Taliban lost 40 of their forces in their ongoing attempts to enter Panjshir.
Ali Nazary, another spokesperson from the group, on Thursday said the Taliban had also lost a number of heavy equipment and weaponry that had been destroyed.
But the causalities of the Taliban were not independently verified.
A Taliban leader had on Wednesday, called on Panjshiris to accept an amnesty and avoid fighting, but acknowledged that negotiations had thus far yielded no result.
He said the situation “should be resolved peacefully,” but did not directly address the claims of renewed fighting and casualties.
Fleeing the Taliban, including the former Afghan Vice President, Amrullah Saleh, have also sought refuge in the Valley.
Massoud had on Wednesday told CNN in an interview that “The Taliban have not changed, and they still are after dominance throughout the country,”
“We are resisting dominance, intolerance, and oppression brought by one political force over the majority of the population that do not support them.”
Adding that he and the NRF were still trying to negotiate with the Taliban, but so far, that dialogue “hasn’t resulted in anything tangible.” Talks have been taking place in the city of Charika, the capital of the neighboring Parwan province.
“Negotiations have their limits,” he said, quoting a prominent Prussian military general. “War is the continuation of politics, and if we face aggression we will be forced to fight and launch resistance to defend our land, people, and values.”