KABUL — A Taliban spokesman said on Monday it had deployed forces around the eastern Afghan province of Panjshir, the only province that is out of the Taliban’s control.
“Mujahedeen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan have moved towards Panjshir from Badakhshan, Takhar and Baghlan provinces and stationed. Salang Highway is opened to traffic and enemy is besieged inside Panjshir,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid wrote on twitter.
He said the Taliban has cleared and taken control of Pul-e-Hisar, Deh Salah and Banu districts in northern Baghlan province. On Friday, anti-Taliban forces said they evicted the Taliban from the three districts in Baghlan bordering Panjshir. Since the start of the U.S.-led troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan on May 1, the Taliban has been advancing quickly on the battlefield.
During the past two weeks, the group has captured most of Afghanistan’s territory, gaining control of 33 out of the country’s 34 provinces.
Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh, several Afghan officials and Ahmad Massoud, the son of former anti-Taliban leader Ahmad Shah Massoud traveled to Panjshir after President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani left the country on Aug. 15.
Mujahid said the Taliban is trying to resolve the Panjshir issue peacefully.