In a gunfight in the north of Afghanistan, the Taliban killed eight resistance fighters from a national opposition movement, authorities reported on Friday. ayokinews.com reports
The Taliban have denied experiencing organized resistance since regaining control in August, but the gun fight on Thursday night may show that armed opposition to their extreme rule is growing.
Taliban troops were battled in Balkh province by fighters from the National Resistance Front (NRF), a group commanded by the son of famed late anti-Taliban leader Ahmad Shah Massoud.
In an audio message to reporters, provincial police official Asif Waziri said eight NRF fighters were killed in a “direct clash” with the Taliban.
Taliban troops also grabbed ammo and machine guns from NRF fighters, according to Waziri.
A request for response from AFP was not returned by an NRF representative.
The violence occurs less than two weeks after Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban’s foreign minister, met with Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, in Tehran.
Following the conference, a resistance official stated that the NRF and Taliban remained on “different pages,” with little chance of reconciliation.
Last year, Massoud’s NRF soldiers were the last to resist the Taliban takeover, retiring to the Panjshir Valley, which succumbed to the Taliban in September, weeks after government troops surrendered.
The Panjshir Valley is known for its resistance to Soviet forces in the 1980s and the Taliban’s initial tenure in power in the late 1990s.
Ahmad Shah Massoud, often known as the “Lion of Panjshir,” was slain by Al-Qaeda in 2001, just two days before the 9/11 attacks.
His son has subsequently taken over the mantle, and there have been rumours of him attempting to organize a rebellion with other exiled Afghan officials, which Taliban authorities have rejected thus far.
The Taliban have also encountered opposition from the IS-Khorasan regional branch, an extreme organization aiming to establish a worldwide caliphate.