‘Don’t shoot in vain!’ 17 accidentally killed as Taliban claim win over Panjshir rebels

Rumours quickly spread to the capital of Kabul stating the only region out of the Taliban control has fallen, leading to cheers from Taliban forces. The militants fired into the air in celebration but the falling bullets accidently resulted in the death of at least 17 people and injuring 41.

Taliban’s chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid urged people not to fire into the air as the rumours spread.

“Avoid firing in the air and thank God instead,” he said.

“The weapons and bullets given to you are public property. No one has the right to waste them.

“The bullets can also harm civilians, don’t shoot in vain.”

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Despite the rumours among the Taliban, there has been no official confirmation of the valley falling and local residents told AFP that Panjshir had not fallen.

Last week, one Taliban commander claimed that Panjshir had fallen: “By the grace of Allah Almighty, we are in control of the entire Afghanistan.”

While it is not yet possible to confirm if the region has fallen, if true it would be a historic moment as the Taliban would have full control over Afghanistan.

They did not achieve full control when they first took command in 1996 to 2001.

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Fahim Dashty, spokesman for the rebellion force dubbed the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, has said that Panjshir Valley, the region which was undefeated during the Soviet occupation and the first Taliban insurgency, remains “unbreakable”.

“The defence of the stronghold of Afghanistan is unbreakable,” Mr Dashty tweeted.

The Panjshir Valley, 93 miles (150 km) from Kabul, is located near the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan with more than 100,000 residents.

Politicians in the area, threatened by incoming Taliban forces, say that Panjshir is backed by a militia with several thousand men along with the remnants of the Afghan army, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Panjshir has been the heart of military resistance due to its narrow valley surrounded by mountains with only one centre entry point from Kabul.

Previously, from 1980 to 1985, the valley was also used as a base for resistance forces.

The valley experienced at least nine Soviet attempts to retake the area, but all were unsuccessful.

Roy Walsh

Roy Walsh

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