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Deaths and injuries reported after Taliban's 'celebratory' gunfire

Taliban spokesperson asks fighters to conserve their ammunition


As rumours spread on Friday that the Taliban had captured Panjshir Valley—Afghanistan’s last bastion of resistance against the insurgent group—footage was widely shared of Taliban fighters seemingly celebrating by firing their weapons into the air in Kabul.

A day later, and the fight for Panjshir continues with opposition fighters denying any loss of territory and claiming to have killed hundreds of Taliban fighters. The Taliban reportedly made gains in the area but did not capture it. But the repercussions of the celebratory firing hang over Kabul, where 17 people have been reported dead and 41 injured as a result of the gunfire, according to Afghan news agency Shamsad news.

A spokesman for a hospital in Jalalabad said at least 14 were injured in the Nangarhar province east of the capital, Reuters reported. The death toll of 17 was also initially reported by TOLONews, which later updated its toll saying at least two persons were brought dead and 10 were treated for gunfire injuries at a hospital in Kabul on Friday night.

The Taliban may have been aware of the consequences: Spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid on Friday tweeted asking the Taliban’s fighters in Kabul and across the country to avoid shooting in the air and to “thank Allah instead”.

“Weapons and ammunition are in your hands, no one has the right to waste them. Bullets are more likely to harm civilians, so don’t shoot unnecessarily,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile in Panjshir Valley, the fight rages on. Ahmad Massoud, son of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud and leader of the Resistance said that the Afghan poeple would never give up their fight. “The Panjshir resistance, which has stood firm until now, or our zealous sisters’ resistance in Herat who have raised their voice for their rights, shows that the people have not given up their legitimate demands and will not give up their legitimate resistance and will not be afraid of any threats,” he wrote on Facebook.

The chief of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) General Faiz Hamid arrived in Kabul on Saturday at the head of a high-level delegation of Pakistani officials. The Taliban have postponed the announcement of their government formation for a second time on Saturday, pushing the new date to the next week. 

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