At least 20 civilians are believed to have been killed by Taliban in rebel stronghold of Panjshir, report says

Taliban members patrol after they took over Panjshir Valley, the only province the group had not seized during its sweep last month in Afghanistan on September 6, 2021.
Taliban members patrol after they took over Panjshir Valley, the only province the group had not seized during its sweep last month in Afghanistan on September 6, 2021. () Photo by Bilal Guler/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • At least 20 civilians are believed to have been killed by the Taliban in Panjshir, the BBC said.
  • A man was arrested on accusations of selling SIM cards to rebel fighters, before being killed.
  • The region has long been a focal point of resistance in Afghanistan.
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At least 20 civilians are believed to have been killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley, the BBC reported on Monday.

One of the victims was a shopkeeper and father of two, the report said. Local sources told the BBC that he would not leave when the Taliban advanced.

“I’m just a poor shop owner and have nothing to do with war,” the man said to the Taliban, the report said, before being arrested on accusations of selling SIM cards to resistance fighters.

The region is the final holdout of anti-Taliban resistance since the militant group swept back into power last month. Heavy fighting has been taking place in the mountainous region in north-central Afghanistan between resistance fighters and the Taliban.

Despite Taliban promises that there wouldn’t be any revenge killings after international forces evacuated last month, reports have documented targeted killings.

Meanwhile, Taliban sources earlier in September claimed they seized the Panjshir, while resistance forces denied the assertions, reports say.

Panjshir has long been a focal point of resistance in Afghanistan. The valley defied Taliban rule in the 1990s and held out during the Soviet Union’s occupation, as its rocky terrain and natural mountainous defenses historically made it difficult to conquer.