At least 17 people have been killed in a celebratory gunfire in the Afghan capital, Kabul, after rumors spread that the Taliban have managed to take control of the Panjshir Valley.
Celebrity gunfire rang out in Kabul and some other cities as unconfirmed reports said the valley had fallen.
Local media reports said “aerial shooting” killed 17 people and wounded 41 in Kabul on Friday.
Over a dozen people were also wounded in Nangarhar province, east of the capital, according to Gulzada Sangar, spokesman for an area hospital in the provincial capital, Jalalabad.
The Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, called on the fighters to avoid shooting in the air.
“The weapons and bullets given to you are public property. No one has the right to waste them. The bullets can also harm civilians, don't shoot in vain,” he said in a message on Twitter.
The Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August 15; weeks after they intensified offensives and rapidly overran major cities across the country as the United States started a withdrawal of its forces.
The group, which are now in the process of forming a government, are engaged in an intense fighting in the Panjshir Valley — the only region to hold out against the Taliban.
Ahmad Masoud, the son of the late anti-Soviet Mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Masoud, has established himself in the 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.
Earlier on Friday, several Taliban sources said the group had seized the Panjshir Valley, but the resistance front denied the claim.
“We will never give up the fight for God, freedom and justice,” Massoud wrote on his Facebook page.
But fresh fighting was reported Saturday between the Taliban and the resistance front.
Former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who is holed out alongside Massoud in Panjshir, admitted the perilous position of the resistance.
“The situation is difficult, we have been under invasion,” Saleh said in a video message on Saturday. “The resistance is continuing and will continue.”
A Taliban source confirmed that fighting was continuing in Panjshir but the advance had been slowed by landmines placed on the road to the capital Bazarak and the provincial governor’s compound.
“Demining and offensives are both going on at the same time,” the source said.
The Taliban reportedly offered Massoud a position within their government, but he has rejected it.
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