Taliban kill 17 injured 41 in celebratory gunfire

Taliban accidentally kill 17 people and injure 41 others after firing off their weapons in premature celebration at false claims that they had beaten the rebels making a last stand in Afghanistan’s Panjshir valley.

Taliban and opposition forces were fighting on Saturday for control of the Panjshir valley north of Kabul, the last province in Afghanistan holding out against the Islamist militia, according to reports.

Taliban sources had said on Friday the group had seized control of the valley, although the resistance denied it had fallen.

The Taliban have so far issued no public declaration that they had taken the valley, which resisted their rule when they were last in power in Kabul in 1996-2001.

A spokesman for the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, which groups opposition forces loyal to local leader Ahmad Massoud, said Taliban forces reached the Darband heights on the border between Kapisa province and Panjshir but were pushed back.

‘The defence of the stronghold of Afghanistan is unbreakable,’ Fahim Dashty said in a tweet.

A Taliban source said fighting was continuing in Panjshir but the advance had been slowed by landmines placed on the road to the capital Bazarak and the provincial governor’s compound. ‘Demining and offensives are both going on at the same time,’ the source said.

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