The Battle of Panjshir conditions the new Government

Taliban control of access to Kabul airport, which starts operating again. / AFP

The regime delays the announcement of what its cabinet will be like while redoubling efforts to seize the only unconquered province

M. P.

In Kabul, the impression is growing that the delay of the Emirate in appointing its new government is not so much linked to the negotiation on the distribution of power, but to the offensive in the Panjshir valley. The battle in the last bastion of Afghan resistance in the newly conquered country has become a real headache for the Taliban leaders, reluctant to announce a new cabinet without having the entire national territory under their control.

Three weeks after the invasion, the regime remains unknown, even though for two consecutive times its spokesmen had announced that the Executive would be announced on Friday or yesterday. The latest version is that the announcement is imminent and can happen at any time. Meanwhile, the population awaits with expectation and concern: it knows that from the composition of the Government it will be deduced whether the coming years will be more moderate or will return to the hell of rigor and punishments of the previous Emirate, between 1996 and 2001.

So far only a few posts have been confirmed and it is presumed that the presidency could be left in the hands of Mullah Baradar, founder and political head of the Taliban movement. In one of the few concessions, the official spokesman has made it clear that the authorities will apply sharia or Islamic law. And what seems very likely is that the Executive will include representatives of various ethnicities, but not members of the previous Ashraf Ghani Administration.

Rumors are increasing that the Executive will not have anyone from the previous Administration

The desire of the insurgents to conquer the Panjshir is so great that the rumors in this regard that circulated among their ranks yesterday unleashed an explosion of euphoria. Deadly euphoria. Seventeen Taliban were killed by celebratory shots into the air and more than fifty were wounded. Most of the victims were registered in the capital and in Jalalabad. The lack of control reached such an extreme that the new Emirate ordered the end of the celebrations to avoid “putting the population at risk.”

Conflicting messages

At the end of the day, and after a confusing exchange of information between one side and the other, the combatants of the National Resistance Front denied last night that they had been defeated. Afghan spokesman Fahim Dashti said that reinforcement troops had been sent to all fronts and that insurgents had suffered heavy casualties. These, for their part, assured that they continue their advance through the province and trust in their rapid fall.

The leader of the resistance, Ahmad Masud, affirmed, for his part, that his is not the only opposition to the regime, since provinces such as Herat “have raised their voices for their rights.”

The airport operates again with humanitarian aid flights

he first humanitarian aid flights arrived in Kabul yesterday after Qatari and Turkish technicians sent to refine the airport managed to rehabilitate the facilities sufficiently to receive these missions.

At least five planes with supplies from Qatar landed at the airfield, from which two domestic flights also departed for Mazar i Sarif and Kandahar. The technicians, according to the Qatari ambassador, have repaired the radar, the communications tower and the main runway in record time. Shortly the terminal hopes to restore international flights.


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