New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Taliban on Sunday (August 23) said that hundreds of its fighters have headed to the Panjshir Valley, one of the last remaining holdouts of Afghanistan not yet controlled by the Islamic fundamentalist group. This comes after the Taliban's swift seizure of power in Afghanistan leading to mayhem in the war-torn country. However, resisting the forced rule some ex-government troops have begun to gatherer in the Panjshir valley, which is long known as an anti-Taliban bastion.
"Hundreds of Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate are heading towards the state of Panjshir to control it, after local state officials refused to hand it over peacefully," Taliban wrote on its Twitter account.
Here is all you need to know about the Panjshir valley:
Panjshir is also known as the 'Valley of five lions'. Located 150 km north of Kabul, it is close to the Hindukush mountains. Famed for its natural defenses, it never fell to the Taliban during the civil war of the 1990s, nor was it conquered by the Soviets a decade earlier.
Despite the Taliban's capture of Kabul, the former Vice President of Afghanistan Amrullah Saleh has made base in Panjshir. Supporting him is Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was also known as the 'Sher of Panjshir'. He was the one who laid the foundation of the Northern Alliance.
Interestingly, Panjshir is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan which is not occupied by the Taliban and has never been under their control.
Why hasn't it fallen to the Taliban yet?
The Taliban have not been able to capture Panjshir because of the location of the valley, which makes it a natural fortress. Its crucial location, being north of Kabul in the Hindu Kush, gives it a geographical advantage. This was a resistance stronghold against the Soviets in the 1980s and then against the Taliban in the 1990s. Amrullah Saleh was also born in Panjshir province and was trained there. Since it has always remained the resistance zone, it was never conquered by any forces - neither by foreign forces nor by the Taliban.
What are the challenges for Pansjhir?
The main challenge that lies ahead for Panjshir is the Taliban putting up guards around it in order to stop its food and essentials supply. However, as per an official report, the valley has enough food and medical supplies to last till the next winter season.
Why Panjshir is special for the Taliban?
Panjshir has the potential to be transformed into a hub of emerald mining. Even during the medieval period, it was famous for silver mining. There is a huge stock of untouched emeralds in the valley, which can be used for monetary gains for the Taliban once mining infrastructure is ready. Further, due to the efforts of America in Afghanistan, there have been some development works as well in Panjshir which makes in lucrative for Taliban.
Posted By: Sugandha Jha