After the Taliban’s lightning offensive and the fall of the Afghan government, resistance groups formed in the province of Panjshir in northeastern Afghanistan, a stronghold of the Northern Alliance. Because the Taliban were armed with huge caches of weapons and military transporters like Humvees that the US had left behind when it withdraws from Afghanistan hastily, the Northern Alliance, led by Ahmad Massoud, held the Panjshir Bastion with a scarce supply of weapons and ammunition. Videos from the Panjshir Valley show Northern Alliance fighters giving Taliban terrorists a bloody nose and showing how the Northern Alliance is fighting the oppressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan and preventing Taliban terrorists from advancing further into the valley.
The Panjshir province in northeastern Afghanistan is one of the provinces of Afghanistan that have not fallen to the Taliban since the Taliban launched a major offensive against U.S., NATO and coalition forces following their withdrawal this summer. Pictures on social media show Taliban members standing over the weekend at the gates of the governor’s residence in Panjshir province after fighting with the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA) of Panjshiri leader Ahmad Massoud at the gates of the governor’s residence. Since the Taliban took over the country in 2014, the leaders of the province of Panjshir have been calling for Afghanistan’s government to grant them more autonomy.
The Panjshir Valley remains the last area in Afghanistan to withstand the Taliban. The Afghan Ambassador to Tajikistan, Zahir Aghbar, has said the region will serve Amrullah Saleh, the first vice-president of the former Afghan government who described himself as Afghanistan’s acting president a stronghold of resistance against the Taliban. Saleh announced that the constitution gives him the capacity to serve as interim president in the absence of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and called on the Afghan people to join resistance.
Massoud, the leader of Afghanistan’s National Resistance Front, said his troops were ready to fight the Taliban. In an opinion piece published in the Washington Post, Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massaoud wrote : “I am writing today from the Panjshir Valley, ready to follow in my father’s footsteps as a mujahideen fighter and ready to fight against the Taliban.
Massoud believes that the only way for the Taliban to play a role in the future is for its members to stop fighting – a message that he believes regional powers can help fulfill. He and other Afghans are willing to form an inclusive government without the Taliban through political negotiations that Ahmad Massoud, the son of a murdered hero of the anti-Soviet resistance, Ahmad Shah Massoud, said was unacceptable to the Afghan government and a sign of extremism and fundamentalism that poses a serious threat not only to Afghanistan, but also to the region and the world. While Massoud’s son, Ahmad Massaud, has already declared opposition to the Taliban, Amrullah Saleh, the Afghan vice president, and Bismillah Mohammadi, the former defence minister, this time the group has a strong advantage.
In an interview with Reuters on Sunday Massoud said he was open to negotiations with the Taliban and promised an inclusive government, but that his supporters would fight if the Taliban tried to enter the valley. Dostum Atta Mohammad Noor, an ethnic Tajik who has sworn allegiance to Massoud’s resistance group, also called on Panjshir to fall to the Taliban. While Massoud, who is also the leader of Afghanistan’s National Resistance Front, is ready to fight, he said he hopes for peaceful talks with the government.
The coalition, led by Massoud’s son Ahmad Massoud, has vowed to continue fighting the Taliban after it takes over Afghanistan. Just weeks after US troops withdrew from Afghanistan and Taliban fighters captured more territory, Ahmad Massoud, the son of slain anti-Soviet resistance hero Ahmad Shah Massaud said he was open to talks with Taliban fighters.
Three weeks after taking power in Kabul on 15 August, when the Western-backed government collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, Taliban took control over most Afghanistan. Since then, there have been reports that the Taliban have seized the Panjshir Valley in northeastern Afghanistan. There have also been reports of anti-Taliban protests in parts of Afghanistan.
In a Washington Post editorial last week, 32-year-old Massoud called for Western forces to help fight the Taliban, adding that members of the Afghan military, including elite special forces units, were dedicated to the cause. On Tuesday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other political leaders agreed to arm civil forces to counter the Taliban’s advance. Saleh belongs to a group of Panjshiri politicians who have played an important role in the Afghan government since the fall of the Taliban.
While the whereabouts of Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh remain unknown, his allies hope he has organized a viable resistance movement in the Panjshir to challenge Taliban rule.
The Taliban claimed victory on Monday when opposition forces in the Panjshir Valley northeast of Kabul said they had completed the takeover of Afghanistan by Islamist groups and promised to announce a new government. A month after US support for Taliban fighters fled the Afghan capital Kabul, Northern Alliance troops marched into the capital and were greeted by cheering residents celebrating the fall of the brutal Taliban regime. Surrounded by the high peaks of the Hindu Kush, around 125 km north of Kabul, the region had its history as a bastion of resistance where the former Afghan Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Massoud Ahmad Massoud and Saleh set up their so-called anti-Taliban resistance.
Saleh has never betrayed the soul and legacy of his hero Ahmad Shah Masoud, but his rapid fall to the north in 2001 brought the help of the Northern Alliance and US forces to the front lines and ordealed the Taliban in a verbal battle with the group. One of the questions being asked is how the new version of the ‘Northern Alliance’ – a group led by the late guerrilla commander Ahmed Shah Massoud – came to power from the Taliban in 1996 after securing northern Afghanistan for over 25 years against the Taliban. The northern alliance was led by a charismatic Ahmad Shah, dubbed the “Lion of Panjshir” who refused to compromise with the Taliban, but also mobilized the world public opinion against it.