The Taliban terrorist group unleashed a barrage of aerial gunfire in and around Kabul on Friday after the group reportedly gained ground in Panjshir province, the last region in Afghanistan that still remains under the control of anti-Taliban militants.
At least 17 people were killed and 41 injured, including children, local Afghan news outlets reported. The Taliban fired the celebratory gunfire as news broke that the resistance in Panjshir was defeated.
“We are in control of entire Afghanistan. The troublemakers have been defeated and Panjshir is now under our command,” news agency Reuters quoted one Taliban leader as saying.
However, this claim was quickly disputed by Ahmad Massoud, the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA) leader, who said “news of Panjshir conquests” that is circulating on Pakistani media “is a lie.”
“News of Panjshir conquests is circulating on Pakistani media. This is a lie. Conquering Panjshir will be my last day in Panjshir,” Massoud said on social media.
In a later message, the resistance leader said that the deadly celebratory gunfire was because Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt. Faiz Hameed is visiting the Central Asian nation at the invitation of the terrorist group to discuss the future of the two countries.
A video posted on social media appears to show the Taliban’s celebratory gunfire. A rain of bullets is seen covering the sky as rapid-fire is heard in the distance. In another video, it looks like people are seen taking wounded relatives to the hospital.
The “celebratory gunfire” drew a rebuke from Taliban chief spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid.
“Avoid shooting in the air,” Mujahid said in a message on Twitter. “Weapons and ammunition are in your hands, no one has the right to destroy them. Cold bullets do more harm to civilians. So don’t shoot unnecessarily.”
Following the deadly barrage of bullets, a Taliban leader instructed all provincial governors and police chiefs to strictly control and avoid aerial firing, Ahmadullah Muttaqi, chief of the multimedia branch of Taliban’s cultural commission, said in a statement, the Pakistan Daily reported.
“You’re instructed to strictly avoid aerial firing. From this time on, there should be no aerial firing under any circumstances. If it happens in your province, you will be held responsible for it,” Muttaqi said.