Leader of Afghan holdout region 'ready to talk'

The leader of the Afghan opposition group resisting Taliban forces in the Panjshir valley north of Kabul said on Sunday he welcomed proposals from religious scholars for a negotiated settlement to end the fighting.

Ahmad Massoud, head of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, made the announcement on the group's Facebook page.

Earlier, Taliban forces said they had fought their way into the provincial capital of Panjshir after securing the surrounding districts.

The Islamist Taliban took control of the rest of Afghanistan three weeks ago, taking power in Kabul on Aug. 15 after the Western-backed government collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.

Earlier, Afghan media outlets reported that religious scholars had called on the Taliban to accept a negotiated settlement to end the fighting in Panjshir.

There was no immediate response from the Taliban.

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