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Afghanistan’s ex-Vice President Saleh leaves Panjshir for Tajikistan — source
Afghanistan’s former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who proclaimed himself "caretaker president" after the Taliban (outlawed in Russia) seized power in Afghanistan, has left the northern Panjshir province, which refuses to recognize the Taliban authority, and is heading for Tajikistan, a source in Kabul told TASS over the phone on Friday.
"The situation in Panjshir is rather difficult. The Taliban are besieging the region from four sides, blocking access to the Internet, electricity and telephone communication. Last night, Saleh left Panjshir and headed for Tajikistan. Most likely, he is already there," the source said.
Earlier, Saleh posted on his Twitter account a call for the international community to pay attention to the Taliban’s activities in Panjshir. He accused the Taliban of cutting off electricity supplies and telephone communications in the region, and depriving people of access to medical and humanitarian assistance.
After abortive talks between the Taliban and the National Resistance Front, Taliban fighters staged an offensive on Panjshir early this week. Fahim Dashti, spokesman for the resistance movement, told TASS on Thursday that the Taliban had failed to seize any of the outposts in the region. According to Dashti, about 350 Taliban militants were killed. He did not say how many resistance fighters were killed. The Taliban however have said nothing about their losses. Now and then they report on successful advances in Panjshir and announce their intention to take the province under their control "in the near future."
After the Biden administration announced the end of its US military operation in Afghanistan and the launch of its troop pullout, the Taliban embarked on an offensive against Afghan government forces. On August 15, Taliban fighters swept into Kabul without encountering any resistance, and gained full control over the Afghan capital within a few hours. Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani said he had stepped down to prevent any bloodshed and subsequently fled the country. Vice President Amrullah Saleh said that under the constitution, he becomes "the caretaker president" in the absence of the president and called for armed resistance against the Taliban.
The northern province of Panjshir is the only pocket of resistance to the Taliban. It is led by Ahmad Massoud, a son of Ahmad Shah Massoud (1953-2001), a once influential leader of Afghanistan’s Tajik community who fought against the Taliban back in the 1990s.
[Source: Tass, Cairo, 03Sep21]
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