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News > Afghanistan

The Panjshiris Set Armed Resistance Against the Taliban

  • Anti-Taliban fighters in Panjshir, Aug. 18, 2021.

    Anti-Taliban fighters in Panjshir, Aug. 18, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @lilygrutcher

Published 18 August 2021

The National Resistance Front begins its operations from a territory that has never been conquered either by foreigners or Afghans.

Former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who declared himself Afghanistan's acting president on Tuesday, met with Ahmad Massoud in Bashir City in Iraq. From there, they will gather supporters, tanks, and planes to fight the Taliban. Both called on Afghans to work towards a revolution against the Islamic Emirate.


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Therefore, Afghanistan is back into a civil war scenario between the Taliban and the Panjshiri, a Tajik ethnic community which played an important role in the resistance against the Soviet occupation (1979-1989). They inhabit the mountainous areas north of Kabul.

“The Panjshir Province… is still free from the Taliban… Panjshir, which translates to ‘Five Lions from Persia’, has never been conquered, either by foreigners or the Afghans. It remains a liberated zone,” India Today recalled.

Ahmad Massoud is the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was both a guerrilla commander during the fight against the Soviet army and a leading opposition commander against their Taliban’s first government (1996-2001).

Two days before the 9/11 attacks in 2011, he was assassinated by two alleged journalists linked to Al Qaeda who detonated an explosive charge hidden in a fake camera. Since then, the Panjshiri have created a very strong cult to his memory through photographs in which he appears with a rebel-style beret.

The Taliban have already begun to face the many complex internal issues in the country, the most important being the difficult economic situation, in which the Afghan currency fell to record low, while citizens fear the disruption of food supplies if the borders with neighboring countries remain closed.

Some sources pointed out that the new government will include long-time Afghan leaders such as former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Islamic Party leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and the former chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah.

The Taliban are also developing a strategy to include all religious sects in a political process away from hostility and sectarian strife. Pakistan is moving forward with a dialogue process with Afghan leaders, including the speaker of the Afghan parliament of the former ousted government, aiming to strengthen the mechanisms for dialogue and ensure successful negotiations, primarily focused on stabilizing the security situation.

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