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Almost 17 killed in Taliban’s celebratory gunfire: reports

Taliban fired celebratory aerial gunshots. (Source: Reuters)

KABUL: At least 17 people were killed and 41 sustained injuries in Kabul due to the Taliban’s celebratory aerial gunfire, news agencies reported on Saturday, after Taliban sources said their fighters had seized control of Panjshir, the last province in Afghanistan.

The Shamshad news agency said “aerial shooting” in Kabul on Friday night killed 17 people and wounded 41. Meanwhile, a hospital spokesman said at least 14 people were injured in celebratory firing in Nangarhar province east of the capital.

The gunfire drew a rebuke from the main Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid. “Avoid shooting in the air and thank God instead,” Mujahid wrote on Twitter. “The weapons and bullets given to you are public property. No one has the right to waste them. The bullets can also harm civilians, don’t shoot in vain,” he added.

In Panjshir, former vice president Amrullah Saleh, holed out alongside Ahmad Massoud — the son of legendary anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud — admitted the perilous position of the National Resistance Front (NRF).

“The situation is difficult, we have been under invasion,” Saleh said in a video message. “The resistance is continuing and will continue,” he added.

Taliban and resistance tweets suggested the key district of Paryan had changed hands several times in the last few days, but that could not be independently verified.

Fighters from the so-called NRF — made up of anti-Taliban militia and former Afghan security forces — are understood to have stockpiled a significant armoury in the valley, around 80 kilometres north of Kabul and guarded by a narrow gorge.