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Afghanistan news: Taliban’s Panjshir victory contested as Blair says invasion was ‘maybe naïve’

Follow developments from Monday below

Sam Hancock,Shweta Sharma,Tim Wyatt
Monday 06 September 2021 15:46
Free people 'still choose Western values', says Blair

The Taliban’s claim to be in total control of Afghanistan’s Panjshir province has been disputed by the National Resistance Front (NRF), which condemned the declaration as “false”.

A Taliban spokesman on Monday declared victory for the Islamist group, saying it meant “our country is completely taken out of the quagmire of war”. However, resistance fighters swiftly said they were still present in “all strategic positions” and “continue to fight”.

Images on social media appeared to back up the Taliban’s version of events, though.

Meanwhile, Tony Blair has conceded Western forces acted with some naivety during the invasion of Afghanistan two decades ago. But despite being unrealistic about how the country could be remade by foreign occupation, the former prime minister, who ordered British soldiers into the country in 2001, said he continued to believe in liberal intervention.

In a speech this morning, Mr Blair said the chaos that saw tens of thousands flee its returning theocratic rulers showed people identified with Western liberal values no matter where they lived.

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Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of Afghanistan. Stay tuned as we bring you the latest updates.

Sam Hancock6 September 2021 05:30

Top Republican says Taliban holding Americans ‘hostage’ at Mazar-e-Sharif airport

Representative Michael McCaul of Texas has claimed that there are six airplanes at the Mazar-e-Sharif airport with American citizens and Afghan interpreters on board which the Taliban are “holding them hostage” right now.

A worker at the Mazar-e-Sharif airport has also confirmed that several planes are parked at the airport and Taliban is holding them leaving. The worker said Taliban wanted to check the passengers document.

Speaking to “Fox News Sunday,” McCaul accused the Taliban of making demands and said the planes have been at the airport for “last couple of days”.

“They’re going to demand more and more, whether it be cash or legitimacy as the government of Afghanistan,” he said.

Shweta Sharma6 September 2021 05:32

National Resistance Front spokesman Fahim Dashti killed

National Resistance Front of Afghanistan has said in a tweet that the militia group’s spokesman Fahim Dashty and General Abdul Wudod Zara were killed in the fighting.

Dashty was advicing group’s leader Ahmad Massoud at the time of his assassination, according to media reports.

Shweta Sharma6 September 2021 05:43

Panjshir valley ‘completely captured’: Taliban

Taliban has claimed that the Panjshir Valley is “completely” in control of the group after days of fierce fighting against the National Resistance Force of Afghanistan.

“With this victory, our country is completely taken out of the quagmire of war,” Taliban chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.

Pictures on social media showed Taliban members standing in front of the gate of the Panjshir provincial governor’s compound.

Shweta Sharma6 September 2021 05:49

Taliban spokesperson says group in complete control of Panjshir province in Afghanistan: report

The Taliban has taken complete control of Panjshir province in Afghanistan, according to the Islamist militant group’s spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid, Reuters reported on Monday.

The province was the last remaining stronghold against the Taliban in the country.

Read The Independent’s detailed report here:

Taliban has captured Panjshir province in Afghanistan, claims spokesperson

The Taliban has taken complete control of Panjshir province

Shweta Sharma6 September 2021 06:06

Taliban allegedly shoot dead pregnant Afghan police officer

An Afghan police officer, named in local media as Banu Negar, has allegedly been shot dead by a Taliban militant in Firozkoh, the capital of central Ghor province.

The Taliban has denied the involvement in the killing and said they are investigating the matter.

The militants of the Islamist group allegedly beat her and shot her in front of her family members at her home on Saturday, three sources told the BBC.

Graphic images, shown by Ms Negar’s relatives, showed blood on a wall of a house and a body with the face disfigured.

According to the family, Ms Negar, who worked at the local prison, was eight months pregnant, reports the BBC.

Three gunmen are said to have arrived at the house on Saturday and searched it before tying members of the family up.

Negar’s family provided this image of her to Western media

Sam Hancock6 September 2021 06:15

Flights with US citizens held up in Afghanistan as confusion reigns after withdrawal

A group of American citizens and were reportedly trapped in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif on Sunday without permission to take off from Taliban officials, as it remains unclear whether the militant group currently has the ability to facilitate international flights.

In a letter to members of Congress from the State Department obtained by CBS News, the agency confirmed that multiple charter flights were waiting to take off from Mazar-i-Sharif’s international airport but had yet to receive permission to do so from local Taliban authorities.

Read John Bowden’s detailed report here:

Flights with US citizens held up in Afghanistan as confusion reigns after withdrawal

State Department email to Congress blames Taliban, while reports indicate that Afghanistan’s airspace is uncontrolled

Shweta Sharma6 September 2021 06:22

NRF says Taliban’s claim of occupying Panjshir ‘false'

National Resistance force has denied Taliban’s claims of taking full control of Panjshir valley.

The NRF said in a tweet that their forces are still holding all strategic positions across the valley and the battle is going on continue.

“We assure the ppl of Afghanistan that the struggle against the Taliban & their partners will continue until justice & freedom prevails,” it said.

Earlier today, Taliban claimed that their forces have “completely captured” the Panjshir valley.

Shweta Sharma6 September 2021 06:42

British veterans have ‘taken their own lives in last week’ over Afghanistan chaos, says minister

Some British military veterans who took part in the Afghan war have reportedly taken their own lives over the ongoing fallout from the US’ decision to withdrawal troops from the nation, a junior defence minister has claimed.

Former veteran James Heappey, who now works for the Ministry of Defence (MoD), told Sky News that “a soldier who served on my last tour in Afghanistan [is one of those] who’ve taken their own lives in the last week or so because of, erm, the feelings over what’s happened in Afghanistan.”

He added: “That os hugely concerning and upsetting ... the veterans community is hurting.”

Mr Heappey also said he was hearing the Taliban was now in control of the whole of Afghanistan, but that the situation in Panjshir did not change the big picture.

It comes after the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF) described the Taliban’s claim about taking the the final pocket of territory which has remained outside their rule as “false”.

Sam Hancock6 September 2021 07:41

NRF spokesperson killed during Panjshir fighting - report

A spokesperson of Afghanistan’s resistance movement was killed during fighting with the Taliban in Panjshir valley, according to various reports.

Fahim Dashti, part of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF), and three other leaders of the anti-Taliban group were killed on Sunday during the clashes.

A page on Facebook affiliated with the resistance movement put out a statement saying: “With deep regret, we lost two dear brothers and colleagues and fighters today. Fahim Dashti, the head of the office of Amir Saheb Ahmad Masoud, and General Sahib Abdul Wadood Zhor, the nephew of the national hero of Afghanistan in the battle against the fascist group.”

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar has the full report:

Spokesperson of Afghanistan’s resistance front killed during Panjshir fighting

Fahim Dashti was killed in clashes after the fighting in Panjshir valley escalated over the weekend

Sam Hancock6 September 2021 07:51

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