The Taliban have been warned that clashes between the group and resistance militia fighters in Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley, north of the capital Kabul, might spread across other parts of the country.
The warning by a number of Afghan politicians, military commanders and political activists on Friday came after the Taliban claimed that they had seized control of Panjshir following intense clashes with resistance fighters in the area.
Salahuddin Rabbani, head of Jamiat Islami which is the second largest political party in Afghanistan, warned against the spread of the resistance in Panjshir to the rest of Afghanistan if differences are not resolved through negotiations.
“This is not the war of yours nor is this in favor of you and your people. You may have understood your position in terms of politics and power in the past two weeks,” Rabbani said in a video clip addressing the Taliban.
Stressing that there are no foreign forces in Afghanistan and there remains no pretext for the Taliban to wage war against civilians, Rabbani said the "monopoly of power and despotism is a failed experience of the previous government and will indefinitely lead to collapse".
“The Taliban should seek the resolution of differences through negotiations and ultimately shape a government which is inclusive and all the people of Afghanistan have to say in the government,” he added.
Atta Muhammad Nur, the former commander of anti-Taliban fighters in Mazar-e-sharif, also called for the settlement of disputes through dialogue, underlining that the Taliban must be committed to forming an inclusive national government, otherwise war will resume in other parts of the country.
Moreover, Afghan people in the provinces of Parwan and Kapisa, north of Kabul, rallied to call on the Taliban to stop fighting in Panjshir. “If fighting continues in the area, people will be forced to defend themselves,” they said.
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai urged both sides in a statement on his Facebook page Friday to stop fighting and to resolve their issues through dialogue.
“I urge both sides to resolve the problem through negotiations so that our suffering nation can enjoy full-fledged peace and prosperity,” the statement read.
Panjshir has been the only region to hold out against the Taliban following their takeover of Afghanistan.
Ahmad Masoud, the son of the late anti-Soviet Mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Masoud, has established himself in Panjshir Valley, leading a several-thousand-strong force comprised of militias and remnants of the Afghan army and special forces units who are opposed to the Taliban.
Masoud has called for a negotiated settlement with the Taliban but has said his forces will resist if the narrow and mountainous valley is attacked.
Taliban say last Afghan holdout region falls; resistance denies
Earlier on Friday, several Taliban sources said the group had seized the Panjshir Valley, with the resistance front denying the claim.
"By the grace of Allah Almighty, we are in control of the entire Afghanistan. The troublemakers have been defeated and Panjshir is now under our command," said one Taliban commander, also claiming that the group had inflicted heavy casualties on the resistance fighters.
Deafening volleys of celebratory gunfire resounded all over Kabul and Facebook accounts were full of mentions of the fall of Panjshir.
Masoud categorically rejected the reports about the collapse of Panjshir, saying, "News of Panjshir conquests is circulating on Pakistani media. This is a lie."
The Taliban are poised to run Afghanistan again 20 years after they were removed from power by American invading forces. The Taliban militants intensified their offensives and rapidly overran major cities in recent weeks as the United States started what was seen as a withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan. The Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August 15, forcing the US-allied Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, to flee the country.
The shock takeover also prompted evacuation of thousands of Afghan and foreign civilians via the Kabul airport, while foreign troops also used the airfield to pull out.