Ground Realities of Panjshir and Districts

Coinciding with the anniversary of the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, the National Resistance Front in Panjshir announced that as a result of the joint operations of its forces, 89 Taliban fighters had been killed and 26 others injured.

On the first anniversary of the Taliban’s Kabul administration takeover, the NRF published a videotape saying that the front had captured 40 Taliban fighters. A day after the publication of this tape, the NRF announced again that 38 of those captured had been released. The Taliban, however, has rejected this claim of the resistance front.

Local residents accuse the Taliban of denial and lying, pointing out that they are tired of the cruelty of the fighters of this group.

The National Resistance Front (NRF) announced on August 15th, the day of the collapse of the former regime, that as a result of the joint operations of the forces of this front in the camps of Shotul, Roy Dara, Zamankor, Anaba, Faraj, Abdara, Hesarak, Talkha and Manhjoor, Abdullahkhel, Shaba, Pishghaur and Koh Sur killed 89 Taliban fighters and captured 40 others. This front also said that 26 other Taliban fighters had been wounded during armed clashes. In addition, Sibghatullah Ahmadi, the spokesperson of this front, published a video on August 15 that apparently showed Taliban prisoners in NRF custody. After that, Amrullah Saleh, one of the leaders of this front and the former vice president of Afghanistan, also made this news public in a tweet. On Tuesday, August, 16, Ahmadi tweeted that all the fighters of the Taliban who were captured by the resistance front have been released. According to him, these prisoners of war were treated humanely during their captivity, and finally, by paying the travel expenses, the ground for their return to their families was provided. Mr. Ahmadi added: “In Arzoo Valley, three rifles, two rocket launchers (RPGs) and 43 Kalashnikov rifles of the Taliban has been seized by  the National Resistance Front forces.”

However, local sources in Panjshir told Hasht-e Subh that Taliban fighters have taken more than 50 civilians as hostage in this province in revenge to their causalities. . According to them, the Taliban have informed local residents that these people will stay with them until the forces of the resistance front come down from their camps and surrender. Local sources also confirm that the Taliban rebels torture and beat the hostages. According to them, provincial elders and children are also among the prisoners that Taliban have taken them as hostage.

Ahmadullah (pseudonym), one of the residents of Abdullah Khel valley, Dara district, Panjshir province, told Hasht-e Subh: “The Taliban have taken a number of children from Abdullah Khel. Those who were not involved in gun fighting, who did not fight, were captured from inside the houses and from the agriculture land areas, they are currently being tortured, may God bless and save them.”

Bibi Salima (pseudonym) is another resident of Abdullah Khel valley in Panjshir province, who chose a pseudonym because of her fear of the Taliban. Bibi Salima told Hasht-e Subh: “For three days there has been a war in Dara Abdullahkhel, the killing of ordinary people is going on. Unfortunately, 50 children, village elders, teenagers and women have been taken hostage. The people of Abdullahkhel are brutally tortured.”

This is despite the fact that two days ago, Taliban fighters shot dead a 16-year-old girl in Dara district of this province. Talking to Hasht-e Subh, local sources say that this girl’s name was Farhanaz and she was attacked by the Taliban while doing daily household activities. A source explains: “Despite the challenges, Farhanaz had participated and taken the university entrance exam and was dreaming of becoming a doctor, but a Taliban rebels’ bullet put an end to her life for ever.”

Although we tried repeatedly to get the opinion of Taliban spokespersons on this matter, they did not respond to our messages and calls.

At the same time, Tabesh Forough, a researcher and democracy activist, told Hasht-e Subh that the Taliban, like any other dictatorial order in the world, have a problem with the facts and ground realities. Theocracies are based on lies and the opposite of what everyone thinks is reality. Mr. Forough adds that the enmity with reality begins with the censorship of free media, the suppression of opposing voices, and the spread of structural lies. Therefore, according to him, in authoritarian and repressive systems, nothing is true except what is produced by the ruling regime. Dictatorships have an organic link with lies, slander, and therefore, it is not strange that the Taliban, whatever their opponents or the people report label them as lies and try to discredit these facts, Mr. Forough said.

This researcher adds that independent verification of facts and events is possible when the risk of torture and repression is not directed at the media, but in the current atmosphere in Afghanistan, such a thing is not possible. Mr. Forough emphasizes that on the assumption that false information is being circulated in the public space, it is because of this that the Taliban regime has build wall against and the possibility of normal and free information gathering and circulation.

Right after the collapse of Kabul,  Resistance Front being led by Ahmand Massoud announced its presence in Panjshir and started an armed confrontation with the Taliban. This front announced firm position about three days ago and said that the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan will continue its fight against Taliban until the “establishment of a decentralized Islamic system” through democracy and elections is not met. This is despite the fact that Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman of the Taliban, has denied the war in Panjshir saying that “Resistance exists only in social media – Not in reality in Afghanistan.”

[highlight color=”gray”]Amin Kawa, Hasht-e Subh Persian[/highlight]