Taliban captured Panjshir Valley, last stronghold of resistance forces in Afghanistan.

staff Reporter

The Taliban, which is close to forming the new government in Afghanistan, on Saturday claimed that it has captured the Panjshir Valley, the last stronghold of the resistance forces in the war-ravaged country.

"By the grace of Allah Almighty, we are in control of the entire Afghanistan. The troublemakers have been defeated and Panjshir is now under our command," Reuters quoted a Taliban leader as saying.

However, Afghanistan's acting president Amrullah Saleh, who is leading the resistance forces in Panjshir, denied the claims. Saleh also dismissed reports that he has fled the country, saying he is with his commanders and political leaders in the Panjshir Valley."The RESISTANCE is continuing and will continue. I am here with my soil, for my soil and defending its dignity," Saleh tweeted.

His son, Ebadullah Saleh, also denied reports that Panjshir has fallen to Taliban, saying "no, it's false".

Panjshir has been witnessing heavy clashes between the resistance forces and Taliban fighters over the last few days. Earlier this week, the resistance forces have also claimed that over 30 Taliban fighters were killed in clashes with them. However, the Islamists had commented on the issue.

A spokesman for the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA) rebel grouping said it had full control of all passes and entrances and had driven back efforts to take Shotul district.

"The enemy made multiple attempts to enter Shotul from Jabul-Saraj, and failed each time," he said, referring to a town in neighbouring Parwan province.

Meanwhile, several Afghans were struggling to feed their families amid severe drought well before the Taliban militants seized power and millions may now face starvation with the country isolated and the economy unravelling, aid agencies say.

"Since the 15th of August, we have seen the crisis accelerate and magnify with the imminent economic collapse that is coming this country's way," Mary-Ellen McGroarty here, World Food Programme country director in Afghanistan, told Reuters from Kabul.

In a positive development, a senior executive of Western Union Co said it was resuming money-transfer services to Afghanistan - a decision he said was in line with a U.S. push to allow humanitarian activity to continue there.

"Much of our business involving Afghanistan is low-value family and support remittances that support basic needs of the people there, so that's the grounding that we have and why we want to reopen our business," said Jean Claude Farah, Western Union's president in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Western Union and MoneyGram International Inc had suspended services in Afghanistan here after the Taliban captured Kabul.

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