The Taliban have claimed that they have "completely conquered" Afghanistan after crushing resistant fighters in Panjshir province. According to the latest reports and videos circulating on social media, the Taliban have also raised their flag outside its new "headquarters" in Panjshir province.
A video shared on social media shows four Taliban fighters hoisting the Islamist militants' white and black flag up a flagpole while the other two heavily armed gunmen watch on. Heavy fight was on for the past few days in Panjshir province, the last holdout of anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan since the Taliban's blitz across the country last month.
Monday seemed to be the D-Day for Taliban after they claimed to have conquered Panjshir province after days of bloody fighting that cost over a thousand Taliban lives. A video posted by Asvaka news agency shows armed Taliban fighters storming the Governor's house in Panjshir province and hoisting their flag. The Taliban have claimed this to be their new headquarter.
The video also shows Taliban soldiers walking around different areas of the province and getting into helicopters. "The Taliban raised a white flag in Panjshir headquarter,' Tariq Ghazniwal, a Taliban spokesman, wrote on Twitter alongside the video.
"Panjshir, which was the last hideout of the escapee enemy, is captured," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said of the victory. "With this victory and latest efforts our country has come out of the whirlpool of the war and our people will have a happy life in peace, liberty and freedom," he claimed.
The declaration comes after days of fighting with the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA), led by former vice president, Amrullah Saleh as well as Panjshiri leader Ahmad Massoud.
Nation in Uncertainty
Although defeat was inevitable, the NRFA put up a great show of courage for over 20 days, following the Taliban's capture of Kabul on August 15.
That said, the NRFA has denied the claims, although it announced that two key members had been killed in fighting over the weekend. Two NRFA leaders - spokesman Fahim Dashti and General Abdul Wudod Zara - were killed in fighting over the weekend, the group said.
A spokesman for the NRFA told the BBC that the fight is still on at "all strategic positions" and the province had not been captured. However, Mujahid repeated the reassurance in a televised press conference, announcing: "We tried our best to solve the problem through negotiations, and they rejected talks and then we had to send our forces to fight."
Panjshir province, 80 miles north of Kabul, was the final territorial obstacle standing in the way of the Taliban announcing a government. The Taliban had previously seized four of the area's seven districts, including provincial capital Bazarak, from anti-Taliban forces known as the Lions of Panjshir following days of bloody battle.
Mujahid also told reporters that the Taliban would announce a new government "within days" â one that would be inclusive, he said, without giving out much details. Once the government is formed, members of the former Afghan army and security forces would be asked to return to work, he added. "We need their expertise," he said.