Taliban delay govt formation; fight with resistance forces for Panjshir continues | Key points
Top Taliban leaders in Kabul were finalising the formation of the new Afghan government, even as skirmishing renewed against resistance forces in the northern province of Panjshir on Saturday. Unconfirmed reports claimed that the insurgents had entered provincial capital Bazarak and stormed the governor’s office there.
Celebratory firing by Taliban fighters, who believed propaganda that the insurgents had finally captured Panjshir valley, caused heavy casualties in Kabul, with at least 17 people killed in the gunfire.
In some good news for anxious Afghans, the runway of Kabul international airport has been repaired, making way for incoming foreign aid and flights out of the country.
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Afghan government formation in 2-3 days | Top 5 points
1. The announcement of the new Afghan government was further deferred to next week after several high-level meetings between top Taliban leaders. Members of the new cabinet will be named in two-three days, said Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission. But first, the Taliban appear determined to snuff out the Panjshir resistance before announcing who will lead the country. Amidst this, the chief of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, Gen Faiz Hameed, arrived in Kabul on Saturday on the insurgent group’s invitation.
2. Taliban and resistance forces battled on Saturday to control the Panjshir valley north of Kabul, the last Afghan province holding out against the Islamist group, with both sides claiming to have the upper hand without producing conclusive evidence. While the insurgents claimed to have entered Bazarak, the capital of Panjshir province, and stormed the provincial governor’s office, the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan said Taliban fighters were pushed back at the borders of Kapisa province and Panjshir.
Afghan resistance movement fighters patrol on a hilltop in Panjshir province (AFP photo)
3. Heavy celebratory gunfire was heard across Kabul late on Friday night after the Taliban claimed that they have taken control of the Panjshir valley and defeated the NRFA. However, innocent bystanders paid the price for the militants’ premature jubilation. The Emergency Hospital in Kabul said that at least 17 bodies and 41 wounded people, including children, were transferred to the facility — casualties of the city-wide aerial firing.
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4. After back-to-back rallies in Kabul and Herat by small groups of women demanding equal rights, things took an ugly turn on Saturday when the Taliban used tear gas and brute force to halt a protest march in the Afghan capital. Videos shared on social media showed a woman protestor nursing a bleeding forehead. Despite assurances from top Taliban leaders, Afghan women are demanding their right to education and employment under the hardline Islamist group’s rule.
Afghan women hols placards and raise slogans during a protest rally in Kabul (AP photo)
5. In what may come as welcome news to those desperate to flee Afghanistan, Qatar’s ambassador to the country said a technical team was able to reopen Kabul airport to receive aid and domestic flights had resumed. Kabul airport had been closed since the end of the massive US-led airlift of its citizens, other Western nationals and Afghans who helped Western countries. The US is also likely to provide humanitarian aid for internally displaced Afghans and refugees, though not for the Taliban government.
(With inputs from agencies)
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(News Source -Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Times Of Nation staff and is published from a www.indiatoday.in feed.)
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