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Taliban forces clashed with militias in the Panjshir Valley north of the Afghan capital Kabul Monday night, killing eight, a representative of the main anti-Taliban opposition group said.
Since the fall of Kabul on August 15, the Panjshir has been the only province that has held out against the Taliban, although there have also been clashes in neighboring Baghlan province between the Taliban and local militias.
Fahim Dashti, a spokesman for the National Resistance Forces, a group loyal to local leader Ahmad Massoud, said the fighting took place at the western entrance to the valley where the Taliban attacked NRF positions.
He said the attack, which may have been a probe to test the valley’s defenses, was repulsed with eight Taliban dead and a similar number injured, while two members of the NRF troops were injured.
It was not immediately possible to reach a Taliban spokesman for comment.
Massoud, the son of the former anti-Soviet mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, has settled in the Panjshir Valley with a force of several thousand made up of local militias and remnants of army and special units.
He has called for a negotiated settlement with the Taliban but has said his troops will resist if their province in the narrow and mountainous valley is attacked.
A significant force of Taliban fighters has moved into the area, but the two sides have so far been engaged in negotiations and have avoided fighting.
On Tuesday, celebratory gunfire rang out through Kabul as Taliban fighters took over the airport following the withdrawal of the last US troops, ending a 20-year war that left the Islamist militia stronger than in 2001.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)
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