Ahmad Massoud, the son of Afghanistan’s late National Hero Ahmad Shah Massoud, said he will never hand over Panjshir province to anyone, even as the Taliban increases its forces near the mountainous valley in northern Afghanistan.
Speaking to Reuters, Massoud said he hoped for negotiations to resolve the issues, but he is ready for war if the negotiations fail.
Meanwhile, the Taliban said that its forces have cut off entrances to Panjshir province and are on high alert.
Amrullah Saleh, the first vice president to former president Ashraf Ghani, said that resistance forces had blocked the Salang Highway, but the Taliban said the highway is under their control.
Footage shared on social media shows that the Taliban forces are building up military forces near Panjshir.
Former Vice President Amrullah in a tweet said that the Taliban’s siege was disrupted by public uprising forces.
“Talibs have massed forces near the entrance of Panjshir a day after they got trapped in ambush zones of neighboring Andarab valley and hardly went out in one piece. Meanwhile Salang highway is closed by the forces of the Resistance. 'There are terrains to be avoided.' See you,” Saleh tweeted.
“I am in my stronghold Panjshir valley, the people of Panjshir valley are very much united and they want to defend, they want to fight, they want to resist against any totalitarian regime,” said Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud.
“The people here are just a small portion of the people of Afghanistan and the geography of Panjshir is the smallest province in the whole Afghanistan, but what we are standing for right now is for the whole country, its for sovereignty, its for peace, its for people, its for inclusivity and tolerance,” said Ahmad Massoud.
Nevertheless, the Taliban’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that the people of Panjshir do not want a war.
“No major work remains in Panjshir, we have only a few people who might insist on war. The people of Panjshir--including their Ulema and elders--have constantly sent us messages that they do not want war, this means that the people do not support war. If a few people want to make mistakes, they will be prevented,” said Mujahid.
Meanwhile, a number of residents have said that the war is not the solution and that the Afghan warring parties should negotiate rather than start a new war.
The Taliban currently control 33 provinces out of 34.
There are also reports of heavy fighting between the Taliban and public uprising forces in Baghlan province.
The Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Twitter said that the Taliban forces have retaken Deh Salah and Pul-e-Hesar districts from local forces.
This comes a day after Afghan political leaders said that so far no serious discussions have been held about a future political system despite meetings between the Taliban and political leaders.
They called for an inclusive system that will reflect the aspirations of the entire Afghan nation.
Some said that recent meetings between Afghan political leaders and the Taliban were conducted only as consultations, and no serious discussions were held about a future system.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Sunday said that talks on the formation of a new government with Afghan political leaders are underway and that a new government will be announced in the near future.
“Our political officials met with leaders here in Kabul, their views are important, discussions are moving, InshaAllah, there is hope for an announcement on the government soon,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban.