The Taliban are pummeling the resistance forces in Panjshir with advanced weapons, as the group tries to ride roughshod over the last remaining enclave held by the Northern Alliance.
The weapons left behind by American troops are widely being used to crush the last pockets of resistance to its takeover of Afghanistan, reports said.
US Military M4 and M16 Rifles
Videos showed Taliban gunmen brandishing US military M4 and M16 rifles and wearing night-vision goggles, IANS said, citing the Daly Mail. A convoy of Taliban troops travelling in US armoured vehicles was last night filmed driving towards the area where resistance fighters were holding their ground 70 miles north of Kabul. There were also reports that Taliban forces had entered Panjshir capital Bazarak.
Taliban and opposition forces battled on Saturday to control the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul, the last Afghan province holding out against the militant group, as the top U.S. general warned of a "civil war" if the Islamists failed to consolidate power.
"My military estimate is, is that the conditions are likely to develop of a civil war. I don't know if the Taliban is going to be able to consolidate power and establish governance," U.S. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, according to Reuters.
Fighters led by the country's former vice-president were last night mounting a final defence against the new regime's forces in Panjshir Valley. However, the rebels appeared outgunned by Taliban fighters using US armoured vehicles, mortar missiles and high-powered artillery.
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The NRF claimed to have killed 600 Taliban fighters in the last 24 hours, but the Taliban claimed it was on the brink of victory with reports suggesting four out of five districts in the province had fallen under Taliban control.
The Taliban is expected to announce in days that its leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada will be Supreme Leader of Afghanistan.
Both sides claimed to have the upper hand in Panjshir but neither could produce conclusive evidence to prove it. The Taliban, which swept through the country ahead of the final withdrawal of U.S.-led forces this week, were unable to control the valley when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi said the districts of Khinj and Unabah had been taken, giving Taliban forces control of four of the province's seven districts.
"The Mujahideen (Taliban fighters) are advancing toward the centre (of the province)," he said on Twitter.
But the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, grouping forces loyal to local leader Ahmad Massoud, said it surrounded "thousands of terrorists" in Khawak pass and the Taliban had abandoned vehicles and equipment in the Dashte Rewak area.
Front spokesman Fahim Dashti added "heavy clashes" were going on.
In a Facebook post, Massoud insisted Panjshir "continues to stand strongly." Praising "our honourable sisters", he said demonstrations by women in the western city of Herat calling for their rights showed Afghans had not given up demands for justice and "they fear no threats."