The Panjshir Valley, surrounded by the substantial peaks of the Hindu Kush 125km (78 miles) north of Kabul, is residing up to its heritage as a bastion of resistance as two Tajik leaders – Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh – send out out their phone of anti-Taliban resistance from there.
Saleh, 48, is defiant, declaring himself the performing president of the place immediately after President Ashraf Ghani fled the Taliban’s spectacular entry to Kabul. He has referred to as on his followers to converge in Panjshir to combat the Taliban.
Saleh – who served as first vice president due to the fact February 2020 – had been a member of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance in the 1990s alongside with Massoud’s father, the late Ahmad Shah Massoud.
Ahmad Shah Massoud became identified as the Lion of Panjshir following he efficiently defended the space in the course of the Soviet-Afghan War in the 1980s. He later, in the Northern Alliance, led fierce resistance against the Taliban until finally he was assassinated by al-Qaeda in September 2001.
Massoud, chief of the National Resistance Entrance of Afghanistan, asserts that his forces are all set to battle the Taliban.
The 32-year-old claims he will observe in his father’s footsteps and under no circumstances surrender.
“I compose from the Panjshir Valley nowadays, ready to stick to in my father’s footsteps, with Mujahideen fighters who are organized to at the time once again take on the Taliban,” he wrote in the Washington Write-up newspaper.
“We have merchants of ammunition and arms that we have patiently gathered considering that my father’s time mainly because we understood this working day could come.”
He extra, however, that his forces – which reportedly numbered additional than 6,000 – would need to have worldwide help. He named on support from France, Europe, the US and the Arab globe, stating they had helped in his father’s struggle from the Soviets and the Taliban 20 several years back.
While he is well prepared to fight, Massoud said he still hoped to hold peaceful talks with the Taliban.
“We want to make the Taliban realise that the only way ahead is via negotiation,” he advised Reuters by phone from his stronghold in Panjshir, the place he has gathered remnants of common army models and unique forces as nicely as nearby militia fighters.
“We do not want a war to crack out.”
The Tajik leader has known as for an inclusive, wide-based mostly government in Kabul symbolizing Afghanistan’s unique ethnic groups and reported a “totalitarian regime” should really not be recognised by the international local community.
Meanwhile, Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, mentioned there experienced been no fighting in Panjshir but and that his group is searching for a “peaceful solution” to the standoff. The Taliban, which has been engaged in authorities development, has promised a government inclusive of the country’s varied ethnic groups.
Born in 1989 in Piyu in the province of Takhar in northeast Afghanistan, Massoud completed his secondary college education in Iran and then invested a 12 months on a armed forces training course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the United kingdom.
In 2012, he commenced an undergraduate diploma in War Studies at King’s School London where by he received his bachelor’s degree in 2015.
He attained his master’s diploma in Worldwide Politics from Metropolis, College of London in 2016. He formally entered politics in March 2019.
Major the resistance with Ahmad Massoud, Saleh will most likely be a crucial figure in any peace talks that ensue with the Taliban.
He is equally steadfast in his motivation to combat and observe in the legacy of Ahmad Shah Massoud, sparking unconfirmed studies that much more Afghan politicians had been regrouping in the Panjshir Valley.
“I will never, ever & below no situations bow to d Talib terrorists,” Saleh wrote on Twitter.
“I will never betray the soul & legacy of my hero Ahmad Shah Masoud, the commander, the legend & the guideline. I will not disappoint millions who listened to me. I will hardly ever be beneath one ceiling with Taliban. Never,” he vowed.
Saleh is among a team of Panjshiri politicians who took up important roles in the Afghan federal government right after the tumble of the Taliban.
— Yalda Hakim (@BBCYaldaHakim) August 23, 2021
Previously head of the Afghan intelligence support, Saleh rose to the place of vice president in 2020.
He has survived many tries on his daily life, including a suicide assault on his workplace in Kabul in 2019. Saleh escaped unhurt but a lot more than 20 of his colleagues were killed in the attack for which he blamed the Taliban.
Saleh has relocated to Panjshir and declared himself the caretaker president of Afghanistan, in accordance with the Afghan structure.
He served as the minister of inside in 2018 and 2019, and as head of the Nationwide Directorate of Safety from 2004 to 2010. Soon after resigning from nationwide stability, Saleh produced a pro-democracy, anti-Taliban movement called Basij-e Milli (National Mobilisation).
Saleh had joined the Mujahideen resistance below Ahmed Shah Massoud as a younger male and was appointed by Massoud to serve as the Northern Alliance’s liaison office environment within the Afghan Embassy in Tajikistan in 1997.