Leader of Afghan resistance in Panjshir Ahmad Massoud says ready to talk to Taliban

The leader of the resistance movement in Afghanistan Ahmad Massoud, said on Sunday he welcomed proposals by religious clerics to negotiate a settlement for the fighting with the Taliban.

Massoud, the head of the anti-Taliban group in Panjshir valley north of Kabul – the last stronghold of opposition to the Taliban, said his fighters were willing to stop the fighting and reinitiate negotiations.

“The National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA) is ready to stop the war immediately in order to achieve stable peace, if the Taliban ends it military attacks on Panjshir and Andarab,” Massoud said.

A number of religious scholars and clerics across Afghanistan had called on the two sides to end the fighting, describing it as an “illegitimate war” in the country.

“You are fighting based on what justification to kill your Muslim brothers? Dear scholars, if this situation continues, the country will turn into an ethnicity-based and region-based conflict,” said Abdul Qader Qanet, a religious scholar, according to Afghan news outlet ToloNews.

“You negotiated with the US behind closed doors for two years. You traveled to different countries… But you are not ready to talk with your Muslim brothers,” said Mawlawi Mohammad Amin, religious scholar.

Several attempts at talks between the Taliban and the resistance movement were held but they eventually failed, with each side blaming the other.

The Taliban said on Sunday they captured all districts of Panjshir province, but the fighting is ongoing at the provincial center. A claim the NRFA denied.

“Panjshir’s Paryan has been completely cleared of Taliban. At least, ‘1,000 terrorists’ were stuck as their entrance and exit ways were closed. All the aggressors were arrested or killed by the local people with support from the resistance forces while they were fleeing,” resistance spokesman Fahim Dashti said.

The fighting has been ongoing for days with the Taliban admitting to heavy casualties on both sides.

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