The Taliban said on Sunday that “hundreds” of their fighters were heading to the Panjshir Valley, one of the few parts of Afghanistan not yet controlled by the group.
“Hundreds of Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate are heading towards the state of Panjshir to control it, after local state officials refused to hand it over peacefully,” the extremsit group wrote on its Arabic Twitter account.
The province is a stronghold of the Northern Alliance fighters who joined with the US to topple the Taliban in 2001, and Ahmad Massoud, the son of a famous Northern Alliance commander assassinated days before the 9/11 attacks, has appeared in videos from there.
But it appears unlikely a few thousand guerrilla fighters will soon succeed where the Afghan national security forces failed despite 20 years of Western aid, assistance and training.
“If Taliban warlords launch an assault, they will of course face staunch resistance from us,” Massoud told Al Arabiya. But he also expressed openness to dialogue with the Taliban.