22 Aug 2021: Afghanistan: Week after Kabul fell, anti-Taliban forces retake 3 districts
Anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan have reportedly retaken three districts in the northern province of Baghlan. The three districts are Pul-e-Hesar, Banu, and Deh Salah. The districts are located to the north of Panjshir valley, where remnants of the government forces and local militia have gathered. This is the first sign of pronounced resistance against the Taliban since it took over Afghanistan last Sunday.
Details: Heavy casualties on both sides: Report
Afghanistan's TOLOnews reported that there had been heavy casualties on both sides in the Bano district. "With the help of Allah, we inflicted massive casualties to the Taliban, currently Bano district is under the control of public uprising forces," said a former police commander in Baghlan. Although the Taliban has not yet commented, the report said the group is preparing to retake these districts.
Fact: What triggered people's retaliation?
The retaliation against the Taliban was reportedly triggered by the latter's house-to-house searches in Baghlan. After "liberating" the three districts, Bano's former police chief Assadullah said the anti-Taliban force is moving toward the Khinjan district and "will clear the Baghlan province soon," TOLOnews reported.
Resistance: Taliban facing resistance from Panjshir valley
Notably, 33 out of 34 provinces in Afghanistan have fallen to the Taliban after the latter seized the capital city, Kabul, last Sunday. The Taliban has not yet attempted to enter Panjshir, which has a history of resistance against the Soviets and the Taliban. This time, Panjshir leader Amad Massoud and former Vice-President Amrullah Saleh have vowed to resist the Taliban from Panjshir.
Fact: 6,000 anti-Taliban fighters have gathered in Panjshir: Report
Over 6,000 fighters, consisting mainly of the remaining Afghan Army, Special Forces, and the local militia have gathered in the Panjshir valley, north of Kabul. They have some helicopters and military vehicles and have repaired some armored vehicles left behind by the Soviets, Reuters reported.
Protests: Taliban's Independence Day celebration marred with protests
The Taliban celebrated Thursday—August 19, Afghanistan's Independence Day—as a day to mark its victory against US forces. However, locals staged protests, leading rallies where they waved the Afghan flag and cheered, "Our flag, our identity." Some protesters also tore down the Taliban's flag. The Taliban's forces fired upon one such rally in Asadabad, which caused a stampede and the deaths of several protesters.
Development: Taliban negotiating with Afghan politicians; framework for government expected soon
Meanwhile, the Taliban is continuing discussions with Afghan politicians to form an "inclusive government" in the country that is acceptable to all. The framework for the creation of the new government is expected to be announced in the next few weeks, Reuters reported citing Taliban sources. Notably, former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah Saturday met with senior leaders of the Taliban.
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