The Taliban on Monday said it had captured the last pocket of resistance in Afghanistan - Panjshir Valley - even as opposition fighters vowed to keep up their struggle.
Following their lightning-fast rout of Afghanistan's army last month and celebrations when the last US troops flew out after 20 years of war, the Taliban turned to fight the forces defending the mountainous Panjshir Valley.
"With this victory, our country is completely taken out of the quagmire of war," chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.
Taliban raise flag at governor HQ at Bazarak in Panjshir
An image posted on social media by the Taliban showed its fighters at the governor's office of Panjshir province.
National Resistance Front (NRF) made up of anti-Taliban militia and former Afghan security forces said its fighters were still present in "strategic positions" across the valley and that they were continuing the struggle.
"We assure the people of Afghanistan that the struggle against the Taliban and their partners will continue until justice and freedom prevails," the NRF tweeted in English.
Late on Sunday the anti-Taliban force had acknowledged suffering major battlefield losses in Panjshir and called for a ceasefire.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)
Taliban forces at Panjshir Valley
As the Taliban made gains in Panjshir, the NRF including local fighters loyal to Ahmad Massoud, the son of the famous anti-Soviet and anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud- retreated deep into Panjshir Valley.
The group said in a tweet Sunday that NRF spokesman Fahim Dashty -- a well-known Afghan journalist -- and General Abdul Wudod Zara, a prominent military commander, had been killed in the latest fighting.
The NRF had vowed to fight the Taliban but also said it was willing to negotiate with the militant group but initial contact did not lead to a breakthrough.
(Picture Courtesy: Twitter)
Taliban fighters in Panjshir Valley
The international community is coming to terms with the new Taliban regime with a flurry of diplomacy.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due Monday in Qatar, a key player in the Afghan saga.
Qatar, which hosts a major US military base, has been the gateway for 55,000 people airlifted out of Afghanistan, nearly half the total evacuated by US-led forces after the Taliban takeover on August 15.