At least 17 killed in celebratory gunfire in Kabul: Reports

Taliban fighters fire their guns in celebration in Kabul, on Sept 3, 2021. PHOTO: NYTIMES

KABUL (REUTERS) - At least 17 people were killed in celebratory gunfire in Kabul, news agencies said on Saturday (Sept 4), after Taliban sources said their fighters had seized control of Panjshir, the last province in Afghanistan holding out against the Islamist group.

Leaders of opposition to the Taliban have denied that the province has fallen.

Former vice-president Amrullah Saleh, one of the leaders of the opposition forces, said his side had not given up.

"There is no doubt we are in a difficult situation. We are under invasion by the Taliban," he said on a video clip posted to Twitter by a BBC World journalist. "We have held the ground, we have resisted."

Several other resistance leaders also dismissed reports of the fall of Panjshir, where thousands of fighters from regional militias and remnants of the old government's forces had massed.

The Shamshad news agency said "aerial shooting" in Kabul on Friday killed 17 people and wounded 41. Tolo news agency gave a similar toll.

At least 14 people were injured in celebratory firing in Nangarhar province east of the capital, said Mr Gulzada Sangar, spokesman for an area hospital in the provincial capital of Jalalabad.

The gunfire drew a rebuke from the main Taliban spokesman, Mr Zabihullah Mujahid.

"Avoid shooting in the air and thank God instead," Mr Mujahid said in a message on Twitter.

"Bullets can harm civilians, so don't shoot unnecessarily."

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