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Support for Panjshiris from Afghan minorities in tussle with Taliban

Massoud’s forces in the Panjshir Valley have been bolstered by some Afghan Army commandos as well as remnants of fighters from the Dostum and Noor camps

Support for Panjshiris from Afghan minorities in tussle with Taliban

Militiamen loyal to Ahmad Massoud, son of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud, take part in a training exercise, in Panjshir province, northeastern Afghanistan, on Sunday, August 29, 2021. AP/PTI



Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 29

The Taliban cut the Internet in Panjshir Valley, the sole flicker of resistance in Afghanistan, and was reportedly amassing its forces but Ahmad Massoud was joined by other leaders who said they were not averse to negotiations, their forces were also ready to fight.

Besides Massoud, his fellow Tajik, Khalid Noor, the son of former Balkh Province governor Atta Mohammad Noor, Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dostum and several others sent similar signals.

These leaders also want to jointly hold talks with the Taliban on negotiations for the next government.

“We want to make the Taliban realise that the only way forward is through negotiation,” said Massoud, apparently before communications services were snapped.  

“Surrender is out of the question for us. The Taliban at this point are very, very arrogant because they just won militarily. But what we assume is they know the risk of ruling the way they did before,” said Noor, one of the three Gen Next leaders from the Afghan ethnic minorities. The others are Massoud, the son of Tajik leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, and Batur Dostum, the son of Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dostum.

Massoud’s forces in the Panjshir Valley have been bolstered by some Afghan Army commandos as well as remnants of fighters from the Dostum and Noor camps. But it remains to be seen whether they can withstand a determined Taliban assault on their stronghold. Both Dostum and Noor had their tenures in power tainted by allegations of brutality and corruption.

Averse to a bloody fight which can also set off ripples in neighbouring countries at a time when the Taliban is courting the international community, the group is focusing on intense psychological warfare.  

Pro-Taliban handles on social media began posting images of some fighters next to a river and claimed that Taliban forces had entered Panjshir Valley. Also included were shots of Taliban military vehicles headed on a highway with the claim that  “hundreds of Mujahideen are heading towards the state of Panjshir to control it, after local state officials refused to hand it over peacefully”.

But Resistance2’s spokesman Ali Maisam Nazary said the Taliban “propaganda machine” is spreading fake news. “Panjshir is well fortified and is impregnable. If the aggressors try to enter there, it will be the beginning of their end,” he said.


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