Sept. 6 (UPI) — The Taliban early Monday claimed victory over a group of resistance fighters in Panjshir Province, the last remaining region in Afghanistan to fall to the militant organization.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that they now had complete control of Afghanistan.
“With the help of God Almighty and with the broad support of our nation, our last efforts for the complete security of the country resulted, and Panjshir Province was completely conquered and came under control of the [Taliban],” he said. “With these recent victories and efforts, our country has completely come out of the vortex of war, and our people will have a peaceful and happy life in the atmosphere of freedom, independence and prosperity.”
However, the National Resistance Front in Afghanistan rejected the claim via Twitter.
“Taliban’s claim of occupying Panjshir is false,” the group said. “The NRF forces are present in all strategic positions across the valley to continue the fight. We assure the people of Afghanistan that the struggle against the Taliban and their partners will continue until justice and freedom prevails.”
Ali Nazary, a spokesman for the National Resistance Front in Afghanistan, did not deny in a statement to CNN that the middle of the province had fallen to the Taliban but said other areas still remained under the resistance’s control.
The conflicting statements followed a weekend of fighting between the two sides in which the NRF said two of its leaders, a spokesman and a general, were killed.
Fighting between the two sides began last month as the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan.
The militant organization seized control of provinces as it pushed toward the capitol Kabul last month ahead of the U.S. military withdrawal from the country.
In mid-August, the group had taken Kabul and power over war-torn country.
The Taliban were expected to announce the country’s new government on Saturday but Mujahid had said they would now do so next week as they were continuing to fight the resistance in Panjshir.
On Sunday, Ahmad Massoud, the leader of the resistance group, said via Facebook that the group supports Afghan clerics who were in support of ending the war and negotiating with the Taliban.
“The NRF is ready to immediately end the war in order to achieve lasting peace if the Taliban end their attacks and military operations in Panjshir and Andarab,” he said, adding that they are “committed to resolving disputes with the Taliban peacefully in accordance with religious and moral principles and is confident that it can negotiate peacefully with the Taliban.”
The United Nations also said Sunday that the Taliban has agreed to allow aid workers free movement in the country as it faces a looming humanitarian crisis.