Fighting has restarted around the Panjshir valley, the last major pocket of resistance against Taliban rule in Afghanistan, according to both National Resistance Front and Taliban commanders.
Communication with the mountainous region has been sporadic, but a commander fighting against the Taliban told CNN that forces fighting the militant group had managed to repel a Taliban assault.
"In the Khawak Pass area that connects to Panjshir, heavy fighting is going on," the commander said. "We didn’t have internet until just now. The resistance forces are in Puli Hisar and clashes continue. The Taliban have hundreds of casualties.”
CNN was not immediately able to verify claims of casualties or gauge the scale of the fighting. In a video message on Monday, Maulvi Abdul Khaliq Fateh, a Taliban commander on the front line, dismissed earlier reports of fighting, saying they hoped for a negotiated solution. Later in the day, a Taliban source confirmed a resumption in fighting.
“There was a gentlemen's agreement that no side would attack but they tried to attack and enter Panjshir yesterday from the south and north," said Ali Nazary, spokesperson for the anti-Taliban National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF). "Fortunately, the NRF's forces repelled the attacks and set a few of their armored vehicles on fire. The Taliban forces that came from Gulbahar retreated to Charikar city.”
The main Taliban spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.