Taliban aim US weapons at rebels: Jihadists crush last pockets of resistance with high-tech artillery and mortar strikes in battle for Panjshir Valley
- Taliban use US weapons to crush last pockets of resistance in Afghanistan
- The rebels mount a final defense against the new regime in the Panjshir Valley
- But they appeared to be fired upon by Taliban fighters using mortar rockets
- Videos showed Taliban gunmen brandishing US military M4 and M16 rifles
The The Taliban are using advanced weapons left behind by US forces to crush the last pockets of resistance to the takeover of Afghanistan.
Fighters led by the country’s former vice-president last night mounted a final defense against the new regime’s forces in the Panjshir Valley, the only province the Islamist group has not taken.
But the rebels appeared to be shelled by Taliban fighters using US armored vehicles, mortar rockets and high-powered artillery.
Videos showed Taliban gunmen brandishing US military M4 and M16 rifles and wearing night vision goggles.
The Taliban use weapons left behind by US troops (Photo: Taliban use US armored vehicle) to crush the last pockets of resistance against the takeover of Afghanistan
Rebels were setting up a final defense against Taliban forces in the Panjshir Valley, the only province not yet captured. Pictured: Rebels train in Malimah on September 2
But the rebels appeared to be fired upon by Taliban fighters. Pictured: Afghan resistance movement and anti-Taliban uprisings stand guard along a road in Panjshir’s Rah-e Tang
The military equipment has reportedly been seized by US-trained Afghan government security forces, who fled when the Taliban took power.
KABUL AIRPORT IN ACTION AGAIN
Kabul airport reopened for domestic flights yesterday and will resume international services soon, officials said last night.
Hamid Karzai International Airport closed at midnight on Tuesday as the last US troops flew out after they and British forces carried out one of the largest evacuations in decades.
But yesterday, with the help of a Qatari technical team, the Taliban reopened the airport and two domestic flights departed for the cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and Kandahar.
The prospect of resuming international flights gives a glimmer of hope to hundreds of British citizens and to Afghan employees who have helped the UK and now want to flee the Taliban.
When the Taliban marched into Kabul last month, the airport became the only safe route out of Afghanistan for thousands of British and American citizens and tens of thousands of Afghans aiding Western troops.
More than 6,000 American troops and about 1,000 British soldiers guarded the airport. The Americans evacuated 120,000 people and British troops brought out more than 15,000.
During the evacuation, the airport became the target of an Islamic State suicide bombing that killed 169 people, including 13 US soldiers.
In other developments:
- Former Prime Minister Sir John Major said the withdrawal of Western troops from Afghanistan was a “strategically very stupid” decision which he found “morally incomprehensible”;
- The head of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service arrived in the Afghan capital, Kabul, for talks with Taliban leaders. The group is expected to announce members of its new government within days;
- At least 17 people died when Taliban fighters fired shots into the air in Kabul and other major cities following false reports that the battle in Panjshir had been won;
- Taliban forces fired tear gas and beat young women as they protested to demand an equal right to education and jobs.
A convoy of Taliban troops traveling in US armored vehicles was filmed last night as they drove to the area where resistance fighters were holding their ground 70 miles north of Kabul. There were also reports that Taliban forces had invaded Panjshir’s capital, Bazarak.
The area has special significance for opponents of the Taliban rule. It was home to the Afghan warlord Ahmad Shah Massoud, who opposed the Soviet occupation in the 1980s and then the Taliban when they last ruled the country between 1996 and 2001.
Shah Massoud was assassinated by Al Qaeda terrorists two days before the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
His son Ahmad leads the new rebel group called the National Resistance Front with Amrullah Saleh, the former vice president of Afghanistan.
The NRF claimed to have killed 600 Taliban fighters in the past 24 hours, but the Taliban claimed they were on the brink of victory with reports suggesting that four of the province’s five districts had fallen under Taliban control.
The Taliban are expected to announce within days that their leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada will be the Supreme Leader of Afghanistan.
Mr Major also criticized the British government for its ‘shameful’ failure to rescue all of the local personnel who had worked for it on the ground in Afghanistan.