Taliban and opposition forces battle to control the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul, the last Afghan province holding out against the Islamist group, with both sides claiming to have the upper hand without producing conclusive evidence. This is reported by Reuters.
The Taliban, which took power in the rest of the country three weeks ago, were never able to control the valley when they last ruled Afghanistan, from 1996 to 2001.
Front spokesman Fahim Dashti added "heavy clashes" were going on.
In a Facebook post, Massoud insisted Panjshir "continues to stand strongly". Praising "our honourable sisters", he said demonstrations by women in the western city of Herat calling for their rights showed Afghans had not given up demands for justice and "they fear no threats".
Earlier, a Taliban source said the group's advance was slowed by landmines placed on the road to the provincial capital, Bazarak.
Emergency, an Italian medical aid organisation, said that during Friday night, Taliban forces had pushed further into the Panjshir Valley, reaching the village of Anabah where the group has a surgical centre and a maternity centre.
"We have received a small number of wounded people at the Anabah Surgical Centre," Emergency said in a statement, adding that many people fled from local villages in recent days.
It was not immediately possible to get further independent confirmation of events in Panjshir, which is walled off by mountains except for a narrow entrance.