Panjshir resistance in Afghanistan calls for ceasefire, Taliban withdrawal

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Resistance forces holed up in Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley against the Taliban have called for a ceasefire, a statement from their leaders said, after reports they had suffered heavy losses at the weekend.

The National Resistance Front (NRF) said late Sunday it “proposes that the Taliban stop its military operations in Panjshir... and withdraw its forces. In return, we will direct our forces to refrain from military action.”

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In a separate tweet late Sunday, the NRF said spokesman Fahim Dashty -- a well-known Afghan journalist -- and General Abdul Wudod Zara had been killed in the latest fighting.

The Taliban completed a stunning two-week offensive across Afghanistan on August 15 by taking the capital, Kabul, without a fight.

But remnants of the Afghan army retreated to the Panjshir Valley to form up with the NRF.

The Taliban claimed late Sunday to have captured almost the entire valley, but pro-NRF social media accounts denied this and said resistance fighters had retreated to the highlands.

Panjshir fighters held out for a decade against the Soviet military and also the Taliban's first regime from 1996-2001.

The NRF is led by Ahmad Massoud -- the son of legendary anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud -- and holed out with former vice-president Amrullah Saleh, a fierce Taliban critic.

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