An anti-Taliban guerilla movement is forming in the Panjshir valley under Ahmad Massoud.
Read further to know more about the latest developments in the Afghanistan crisis.
Who is Ahmad Massoud?
Ahmad Massoud is the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud – one of Afghanistan’s anti-Soviet resistance leaders in the 1960s. Massoud’s father had been killed by the Taliban for his resistance against them. As a result, Ahmad Massoud’s actions today have a personal vendetta mixed in with nationalistic fervour.
Images on social media show the ousted vice president, Saleh, meeting Massoud. This could be the first sign of a movement against the authoritarian Taliban.
Movements from Opposing Forces
The Taliban has been amassing fighters around Panjshir Valley, which has consistently resisted Taliban control. The Valley had been calm so far, even though neighbouring Baghlan had claims of violence. Recently, Ahmad Massoud wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post, in which he wrote, “I write from the Panjshir Valley today, ready to follow in my father’s footsteps, with Mujahideen fighters who are prepared to once again take on the Taliban. We have stores of ammunition and arms that we have patiently collected since my father’s time because we knew this day might come.”
Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said that his forces had retaken Deh Salah and Pul-e-Hesar districts from Resistance 2 in the Baghlan province, next to Panjshir. According to some reports, helicopters have been brought into Panjshir from neighbouring Tajikistan. This would be a major asset for the Resistance 2 fighters. Collective Security Treaty Organization Secretary-General Stanislav Zas has denied the existence of an air corridor between Panjshir and Tajikistan for delivering arms.
The vital Salang Valley has been claimed by both sides. Saleh claims that it is under their control whereas the Taliban denies this. However, the strength of the Taliban’s presence around Panjshir has been acknowledged by Saleh.
Grounds for Resistance
Massoud sees hopes of a united resistance against the Taliban regime as he said, “The people of are very much united. They want to defend, to fight, to resist against any totalitarian regime.” This might remain a dream as many Afghans are weary of war and push for negotiations between the warring parties. Massoud also claims to act for the greater good. He said, “The Taliban is not a problem for the Afghan people alone in a recent statement. Under Taliban control, Afghanistan will, without doubt, become ground zero of radical Islamist terrorism; plots against democracies will be hatched here once again.”
The son of Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, Yar Mohammad Dostum, has joined the Massoud-Saleh duo. He had initially fled to Turkey after failing to protect Mazar-e-Sharif from the Taliban. The Dostums have flown Mi-35 helicopters and A-29 aircraft to Uzbekistan for safekeeping.
The Panjshir Valley is Afghanistan’s last remaining holdout for a movement against the Taliban. All eyes from the world turn to the valley as events continue to unfold.
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