The leader of anti-Taliban forces in Panjshir Valley, north of the capital Kabul, has called for a “national uprising” against the Taliban.
Ahmad Massoud made the call in an audio file sent to media on Monday, saying the National Resistance Front (NRF) forces are present in strategic areas of the valley and that they will continue the battle against the Taliban and their partners.
"Our compatriots, wherever you are, whether outside or inside, we call on you to start a national uprising for the sake of the honor, freedom and pride of our homeland,” Massoud said in the audio message.
“Stand up, seize the moment, and accept our call for resistance! For those who want to take up arms, we are with you. For those who will resort to protests, we will stand next to you, will join you, and will declare our support with your struggle. For saving our motherland, we are ready to remain with you till the last moment,” he added.
Massoud slammed the Taliban for violating human rights and targeting the women and children of Panjshir, calling on the international community to take action against what he described as a horrifying tragedy against humanity in Afghanistan.
Masoud also blamed the international community for “providing the Taliban with the ruinous opportunity that helped them gain political legitimacy and entitlement,” and said the people of Afghanistan would bear witness to see who stands in solidarity with them.
Panjshir has been the only region to hold out against the Taliban following their takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August.
Ahmad Masoud, the son of the late anti-Soviet forces 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’s audio message came following claims by the Taliban to have captured the strategic area.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s chief spokesman, claimed the group’s victory in capturing Panjshir Province earlier in the day, warning against any further attempts to rise up against their rule.
"With this victory, our country is completely taken out of the quagmire of war," Mujahid said at a press conference in Kabul. "Anyone who tries to start an insurgency will be hit hard. We will not allow another.”
The Taliban also published a video of their flag being raised over the governor's house in Panjshir.
Taliban provincial governor vows to fight Daesh
In another development on Monday, a Taliban commander, who took over as governor of Nangarhar Province after the group’s takeover of the country, vowed to continue fighting against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in Afghanistan.
Mullah Neda Mohammad said Daesh has been responsible for many of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan in recent years, massacring civilians at mosques, shrines, public squares and even hospitals.
"We are searching for individuals who are hiding," Mohammad told AFP, claiming his forces have arrested 70 to 80 Daesh members since they took control of Nangarhar's provincial capital Jalalabad, the country's fifth biggest city.
"Here they have suffered many casualties in northern and eastern Afghanistan," he said, adding that with the Taliban in power, "there will be no reason for Daesh to be here.”
The Takfiri terrorist group claimed responsibility for a devastating suicide bombing near Kabul airport on August 26 that killed more than 100 Afghans, including 13 US soldiers.