The Taliban stated that “hundreds” of its fighters are heading to the Panjshir Valley, one of the few areas in Afghanistan not yet controlled by the organization.
Since the Taliban occupied Afghanistan, some former government troops began to gather in Panjshir, north of Kabul, which has always been known as an anti-Taliban fortress.
The organization wrote on its Arabic-language Twitter account on Sunday: “Hundreds of jihadists from the Islamic emirate are heading to Panjshir State to control it after local government officials refused to hand over it peacefully.”
Meanwhile, Ahmad Massoud said on Sunday that he hopes to negotiate peace with the organization that seized power in Kabul a week ago, but his troops are ready to fight.
“We want the Taliban to realize that the only way out is through negotiation,” he told Reuters by telephone from his stronghold in the Panjshir Valley, where he gathered troops composed of remnants of regular and special forces and local militia fighters.
“We don’t want war to break out.”
Masood, the son of Ahmed Shah Masood, one of the main leaders of the anti-Soviet resistance movement in Afghanistan in the 1980s, said that if the Taliban army tried to invade the valley, his supporters were ready to fight.
“They want to defend, they want to fight, they want to resist any totalitarian regime.”
However, there is some uncertainty as to whether the Taliban’s actions have already begun. A Taliban official told Reuters that an offensive had been launched against Panjshir. But an aide of Masood said that there was no sign that the column did indeed enter the narrow passage into the valley, and there were no reports of fighting.
A short video shows a line of captured trucks carrying white Taliban flags, but still carrying government signs, driving along the highway.
In the only confirmed battle since the fall of Kabul on August 15, anti-Taliban forces last week regained three areas in the northern Baghlan province that borders Panjshir.
However, Masood stated that he did not organize the operation, which he said was a response to “barbaric behavior” in the area by the local militia organization.
Masood called for the establishment of an inclusive, broad-based government in Kabul, representing all the different ethnic groups in Afghanistan, and said that the international community should not recognize a “totalitarian regime.”
At the same time, Khalil Ur-Rahman Haqqani, the main Taliban who is currently in charge of security affairs in Kabul, responded to the organization’s statement that “All Afghans” should feel safe Under their Islamic emirates, 34 provinces across the country received an “amnesty”.
On Sunday, Haqqani said in an interview with Al Jazeera that the Taliban are working hard to restore order and security in a country that has experienced more than 40 years of war.
“If we can defeat the superpower, we can certainly provide security for the Afghan people,” said Haqqani, who is also a veteran of the Aso War.
But many Afghans suspect that Haqqani — the leader of the Haqqani Network — known to be the most brutal and violent organization associated with the Taliban, and people labelled as “terrorists” by the United States and the United Nations — will Bring peace and security to Afghanistan.
Victoria Fontan, a professor of peace studies at the American University of Afghanistan, told Al Jazeera that she had heard from faculty and students in Kabul that they were worried that the Taliban would conduct searches in their communities.
“There is no direct threat, but a house search has been conducted to determine who works for whom and who has contact with the coalition forces,” she said in Paris.
“Then people were put on the list, and they worried that when the eyes of the international community turned elsewhere, they would start to have a large-scale response to these people.”
Chaos, death at Kabul Airport
At the same time, thousands of people continued to rally at Kabul Airport on Sunday, desperate to escape from Taliban rule.
Witnesses said that the Taliban shot into the air and used batons to force people to line up in an orderly line outside the Kabul airport. A day ago, the British army said that seven people were crushed to death at the gate.
According to eyewitnesses, on Sunday, the gunmen repelled the crowd without causing serious injuries, and Washington said it was now able to let a large number of Americans into the airport.
A NATO official said that in the past seven days, at least 20 people have died inside and outside the airport. Witnesses said that some people were shot and others were killed in the stampede.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson convened a virtual meeting of the leaders of the G7 wealthy countries on Tuesday to “ensure a safe evacuation, prevent humanitarian crises and support the Afghan people.”
U.S. commercial airlines assisted in evacuation
The United States on Sunday ordered six commercial airlines to help transport people evacuated from Afghanistan.
The Pentagon said it had assembled 18 commercial aircraft from United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and other airlines to transport evacuated people from temporary locations, including more than a dozen countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia.
Major General William Taylor said that in the past week, the United States had evacuated 17,000 people from Kabul, including 2,500 Americans.
The British ambassador to Afghanistan stated that the British authorities have managed to evacuate more than 5,000 people.
Laurie Bristow said in a statement on Twitter that the “huge effort” to evacuate the evacuees from Afghanistan is “speeding up,” but “a lot of work remains to be done”.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that on Saturday, Australia had four flights to Kabul, evacuating more than 300 people.
The Netherlands said it would increase its military presence in Afghanistan to help with evacuation efforts.