Afghan crisis: Panjshiris remain defiant, claim Uzbek leader Dostum’s support : The Tribune India

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Afghan crisis: Panjshiris remain defiant, claim Uzbek leader Dostum’s support

Saleh-Masood claim control on town near Bagram airbase, hold military parade in Valley

Afghan crisis: Panjshiris remain defiant, claim Uzbek leader Dostum’s support

People gathered outside the airport react to gunfire, in Kabul, on August 18, 2021 in this still image taken from video. ASVAKA NEWS via REUTERS



Sandeep Dikshit

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 18

The Panjshiris, who have remained unconquered by the Taliban, staged a show of military strength in their stronghold and claim to have retaken Charikar in Parwan, which, if true, will put them within striking distance of the massive Bagram airport complex.

The Panjshiris, who are Tajiks by ethnicity, have not forgiven Ashraf Ghani for having abandoned his responsibility and have resolved to resist the Taliban rule by themselves.

Flying the Northern Alliance flag in the Valley which is impregnable due to narrow approaches through the mountain passes, the Panjshir Valley militants are being led by the First Vice President of Afghanistan Amrullah Saleh along with Defence Minister Bismillah Mohammadi and Ahmad Masood, son of the legendary ‘Lion of the Panjshir Valley’ Ahmad Shah Masood.

The Tajiks also claim that the militia of Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dostum will join them in Panjshir Valley from where they plan a joint resistance to roll back the Taliban from northern Afghanistan.

The claim about Saleh and Masoud capturing the town of Charikar, if true, could enable them to land Dostum’s reinforcements from Uzbekistan. A strategically important road passes through Charikar via the Salang Tunnel, which connects Kabul with Mazar-i-Sharif, the largest city in northern Afghanistan and once held by Dostum.

Already, several Afghan Air Force transporters and fighter jets have landed in neighbouring Uzbekistan. Dostum’s camp followers have claimed that they will be in a position to send 10,000 Afghan army personnel to the region to join hands with the Tajiks of Panjshir Valley. India too reportedly has a detachment of helicopters at a Tajik air base which is barely 200 km from Panjshir Valley.

After reaching Panshir following the collapse of the Kabul government on August 15, Saleh declared himself as the President of Afghanistan.


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