Civilians flee fighting in Panjshir Valley

The Panjshir Valley is famed for being a site of resistance by Afghans against Soviet forces in the 1980s and as a base for rebels opposed to Taliban rule during the Islamists’ first stint in power in the late 1990s.

The National Resistance Front (NRF) were the last to hold out against the Taliban’s takeover of the country last year by retreating to the valley.

Headed by the son of late anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, NRF forces last week announced an offensive against the Taliban — their first since the hardline Islamists seized power in August.

Both sides claim to have killed dozens of each other’s fighters in recent days.

“We could only pick up one or two items of clothing,” Lutfullah Bari said, adding he fled with dozens of families.

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