The Taliban fought deadly battles with the budding resistance forces in northern Afghanistan, as political negotiations on a broader government moved ahead in Kabul and access to the city’s U.S.-run airport remained difficult for thousands of Afghans trying to flee.
While most of Afghanistan’s army and security forces collapsed, some of the Taliban’s most dedicated foes have retreated to the Panjshir valley northeast of Kabul, pledging to continue the fight from the country’s only province not under Taliban sway.
They include the fallen Afghan republic’s defense minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi; Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who claims to be Afghanistan’s legitimate leader after President Ashraf Ghaniabandoned his duties and fled the country Aug. 15; and Ahmad Massoud, a son of famous Panjshiri commander Ahmad Shah Massoud.
Video posted on social media showed casualties and fighting between Taliban forces and anti-Taliban militias in the Andarab valley of the northern Baghlan province, adjoining Panjshir, and large convoys of Taliban reinforcements in U.S.-bought Ford Rangers and Humvees flying the Islamist movement’s white flag.
While the militias in Baghlan are allied with the forces in Panjshir, they acted independently in attacking the Taliban, said Ali Nazary, head of foreign relations for the new National Resistance Front that is based in Panjshir and includes some 1,000 Afghan army commandos who refused to surrender when the rest of the military melted away, and some helicopters.