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A group of resistance fighters battling the Taliban in Afghanistan say they have caused the terror group “heavy losses” – but admitted that they still need help.
Ali Nasary, head of foreign relations for the NRF, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday morning that the Taliban “are unable to challenge the Panjshir Valley, which has been impregnable for the past half a century”.
He said: “Unfortunately for the past three days the Taliban have been attacking the valley from three directions...
“Luckily all attacks have been repelled. The Taliban have suffered heavy casualties and have actually retreated for more than 30 miles and many resistance fighters were able to take three districts.”’
However, when asked if the fighters can continue to hold back the Taliban, who now have access to US military hardware that was left behind, Nasary admitted that the NRF has been asking for more assistance in their battle.
He added: “A force having hardware better than us doesn't really mean anything because we've faced other forces that were stronger before…
Watch: Video shows anti-Taliban forces in training
“The reason we've been asking for assistance is because we’re at the forefront of not only fighting the Taliban but international terrorism…
“It's not a civil war, it's a war against terrorism that we're fighting all alone without anyone else helping us or assisting us at the moment.”
The NRF is led by 32-year-old Ahmad Massoud, the son of Afghan commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, who helped force out the Soviets in 1989 and led the resistance against the Taliban when they previously held control of Afghanistan.
Speaking to CNN, the younger Massoud said his forces are fighting "intolerance and oppression brought by one political force over the majority of the population that do not support them”.
He explained that his group were resisting the Taliban as they “have not changed, and they still are after dominance throughout the country”.
Massoud, who believes the Taliban were only able to take control because of “the weakness of the government”, added: “We have a sufficient amount of equipment at the moment, but we will need assistance to sustain our resistance in the long term.”
Despite failing to defeat the resistance fighters, the Taliban called on rebels to negotiate a settlement with the group.
In a recorded speech addressed to Afghans in Panjshir, senior Taliban leader Amir Khan Motaqi called on the rebels to put down their weapons.
"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is home for all Afghans," he said.
Motaqi said the Taliban had made many efforts to negotiate with leaders of the opposition forces in Panjshir, "but unfortunately, unfortunately, without any result".
Taliban forces are making preparations around the four sides of the Panjshir valley and there is no reason to fight, Motaqi said, adding that the anti-Taliban forces should keep in mind that it had not been possible to defeat the Taliban even with the support of Nato and US forces.
"But we are still trying to ensure that there is no war and that the issue in Panjshir is resolved calmly and peacefully," Motaqi added.
The remarks came after at least seven Taliban fighters were killed during an attempt to advance into the valley, according to two resistance leaders.
While the Taliban plans to reveal a new government, they are unlikely to get swift access to more than £7bn in assets mostly held abroad by the Afghan central bank, meaning they will struggle to keep essential services running.
The new, Taliban-appointed central bank head has sought to reassure banks the group wants a fully functioning financial system, but has given little detail on how it will provide the liquidity needed, bankers familiar with the matter said.
Afghanistan's real gross domestic product is expected to shrink by 9.7% this financial year, with a further drop of 5.2% seen next year, according to a report from Fitch Solutions.
Foreign investment would be needed to support a more optimistic outlook, Fitch added.
Watch: Taliban and UK officials open talks over allowing people to leave Afghanistan