Afghanistan Live Updates: Taliban Claims Full Control, Resistance Fighters Say Panjshir Stronghold Is Still Theirs

Live Updates

Taliban leaders are claiming full control over Afghanistan after alleging to have defeated resistance forces in the stronghold of Panjshir province - but anti-Taliban fighters say they are holding up in the final battle of the takeover.

Witnesses claim thousands of Taliban fighters overran eight districts in Panjshir Valley overnight, reports AP, with spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid this morning announcing the militant group's victory.

What remains of the resistance in the region is understood to be being led by former Vice President Amrullah Saleh and the son of iconic anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was killed just days before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials are struggling to find a clear exit for hundreds of Afghans wanting to escape Taliban rule in the country, with conflicting reports about why several planes in northern Balkh province have been unable to leave the country for days.

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'Freedom': NRF leader remains defiant in face of defeat

Ahmad Massoud, who led National Resistance Front troops in the battle of Panjshir valley against the Taliban, is calling for an uprising in Afghanistan after widespread reports of his group's defeat this morning.


— Ahmad Massoud (@AhmadMassoud01) September 6, 2021

Boris Johnson defends UK record on Afghanistan

The British prime minister thanked soldiers who "kept going" after the terrorist attack in Kabul said they should "take pride" in everything they did.

He reaffirmed the UK's promise to launch a resettlement programme for up to 20,000 Afghans over several years - with up to 5,000 by the end of 2021.

Under this scheme we will of course work with the UN and aid agencies to identify those we should help, as we have done in respect of those who fled the war in Syria. But we will also include Afghans who have contributed to civil society or who face a particular risk from the Taliban, for example, because of their role in standing up for democracy and human rights or because of their gender or sexuality or religion.

But opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer hit out at Johnson for "underestimated the strength of the Taliban despite intelligence warnings that rapid Taliban advances could lead to the collapse of the Afghan security forces".

Johnson replied by accusing Starmer of not bothering "to show up" in the immediate fallout of the withdrawal. "I don't know where he was," he said.

Secretary of State thanks Kosovo PM for 'hosting at-risk Afghans'

Afghan refugees bound for the U.S. but who failed their original screening will be sent to Kosovo for further processing, it was announced yesterday.

In my call today with Kosovo Prime Minister @albinkurti, I thanked the government and people of Kosovo for hosting at-risk Afghans. Kosovo citizens, many once refugees themselves, have again demonstrated their willingness and capacity to contribute to global peace and security.

— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) September 6, 2021

Tony Blair: 'We need boots on the ground' to defeat terrorism

The former British prime minister, who earlier made a speech marking the 20th anniversary of 9/11, made the remarks when asked about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

We need boots on the ground, naturally our preference is for those boots to be local but that will not always be possible.

He added that deadly bio-weapon attacks were no longer in the "realm of science fiction".

Elite Taliban units search destroyed CIA based near Kabul

Members of the Badri 313 military unit spent the afternoon walking through the debris of a destroyed Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) base in the Deh Sabz district northeast of the capital.

Elite Taliban units search destroyed CIA base
Elite Taliban units search destroyed CIA base
Elite Taliban units search destroyed CIA base
Elite Taliban units search destroyed CIA base

Former VP 'fled to Tajikistan' - reports

Amrullah Saleh is understood to have fled Afghanistan after Taliban forces took control of Panjshir valley, unconfirmed reports from Al Jazeera suggest.

The remaining resistance forces in the country - including National Resistance Front leader Ahmad Massoud - are now calling for an "uprising" in the country.

NATO defends record on Afghan refugees

Major General Mead, Allied Joint Force Command Naples' Deputy Chief of Staff, set out how military allies are providing "housing, care, and support" at temporary shelters for Afghan families across the world before they are moved to permanent new homes.

NATO is committed to evacuate NATO employees and their families, those people we served with in Afghanistan, to a safe and secure environment. This has required the authorization and activation of the NATO Response Force to establish a forward task force, Task Force Noble, which is an element of logistics, force protection, and enablement to make sure we support our NATO colleagues.

To date, more than 120,000 people have been evacuated by allied countries from Kabul's airport, with over 500 Afghans who have worked with NATO being housed in bases around Europe.

Taliban officials in talks with Turkish and Russian ambassadors

Spokesman Suhail Shaheen confirmed earlier that the Taliban's Qari Din Mohammad Hanif met with Turkey's ambassador yesterday to discuss Kabul's airport.

Qari Din Mohd. Hanif, Head of PO Dept for Turkey snd Russian Federation met with Turkish ambassador in Kabul yesterday. He was accompanied by Malavi Hamidullah, Acting Minister of Aviation. Both delegations discussed the current Afghan situation, issues

— Suhail Shaheen. محمد سهیل شاهین (@suhailshaheen1) September 6, 2021

Resistance 'continuing to fight' against Taliban in Panjshir

Anti-Taliban forces leader Admad Massoud said In an audio message posted on his Facebook page this morning that his forces are present in the Panjshir valley and are continuing to fight for control.

Iran condemns attack on Panjshir

Iran's Foreign Affairs Ministry has strongly condemned fighting in the Panjshir valley and claims attacks on anti-Taliban resistance fighters have broken international laws.

In a press conference just now, spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh also said it would be investigating allegations that Pakistan assisted attacks against the group.

Anti-Taliban militant spokesman killed yesterday

Fahim Dashti was killed in battle on Sunday in the Panjshir valley, according to the National Resistance Front's Twitter account.

Dashti was the voice of the group and a prominent media personality during previous governments.

He was also the nephew of Abdullah Abdullah, a senior former government official who is reported by Al Jazeera to be in negotiations with the Taliban on the future of the country.

Former Afghan National Army soldiers urged to 'integrate' with Taliban regime

Taliban leaders said those who have fought them over the past 20 years will be asked to return to their former roles - under the militant group's leadership.

Zabihullah Mujahid told a press conference just now that they "will be asked to rejoin the security departments alongside Taliban members" in the coming weeks.

New government to be announced soon

Taliban leaders suggest there are only "some technical things left" in the negotiations to form a new administration in Afghanistan.

Talks have been ongoing between different parties - including former president Hamid Karzai - since the Taliban took control of Kabul last month.

In a press conference just now, group spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid suggests the government will be "inclusive" and provide opportunities for former opponents and women - but which women would take senior positions remains unclear.

Taliban 'will not allow' resistance against their rule

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid was just at a press conference in Kabul, where he stated that any "insurgency" against their rule would be "hit hard".

The Islamic Emirate is very sensitive about insurgencies. Anyone who tries to start an insurgency will be hit hard. We will not allow another.

Good morning and welcome to Newsweek's liveblog

Taliban leaders today announced the full takeover of Afghanistan - but resistance fighters claim there is still a battle to be had.

Several aircraft with hundreds of Afghans desperate to flee the country are still grounded, with the U.S. under increasing pressure to get as many out as possible.

Follow Newsweek's liveblog throughout Monday for all the latest...