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Analysis

Panjshir resistance: a ray of hope for Afghans

WebdeskAug 23, 2021, 02:16 PM IST

Panjshir resistance: a ray of hope for Afghans

                                                                                                                                                                                            W. Rorrkychand Singh

 

Panjshir, a province with seven districts and 512 villages in the Northeastern part of Afghanistan and the renewed resistance movement against Taliban in the region, remains the only ray of hope to free the Afghans from the oppressive Taliban regime.

 

The whole world is eying on the present geopolitical crisis and the Taliban’s dramatic takeover of Afghanistan. Fleeing of President Ashraf Ghani to UAE, Taliban’s swept to power and horrified experiences of earlier Taliban regime has left the Afghan at lurch. The latest resurgence of resistance movement at Panjshir, a province untouched by the Taliban, gives Afghans a new hope.


After the Taliban reclaimed the national capital on August 15,  2021, the valley of Panjshir valley, situated at around 125 Km away from Kabul and 3 hours drive from Afghanistan’s capital city, remained as the only fortress free from the Taliban’s occupation. It is where the present Caretaker President of Afghanistan, Amrulla Saleh has relocated after Kabul was fallen into the hands of the Taliban.


Panjshir, a province with seven districts and 512 villages in the Northeastern part of Afghanistan and the renewed resistance movement against Taliban in the region, remains the only ray of hope to free the Afghans from the oppressive Taliban regime.

Anti- Taliban history:


Panjshir, translated as Five Tigers in Persia, is known for its resistance against Taliban and foreign forces, including the British during Anglo-Afghan Wars, Soviet during the Soviet-Afghan War and Taliban since its formation in 1994. The province has seven districts and 512 villages, is now a hotbed for the renewed uprising, also called Resistance 2.0, National Resistance Front of Afghanistan and The Panjshir Resistance from August 16 against the Taliban.


The fortress is the main stronghold of the ethnic Tajik population and the birthplace of Amrullah Saleh and iconic Afghan guerrilla militia commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, who had successfully resisted the Soviet Union from taking the Panjshir valley during the Soviet-Afghan war and protected from Taliban’s reach since its emergence in the early 1990s.


After President Ashraf Ghani fled the country to UAE, the first Vice-President Amrullah Saleh declared himself as the Caretaker President of the country ‘as the constitution of Afghanistan’ relocated at the valley with a vow “never be under one ceiling with the Taliban”.


Amrullah Saleh’s fighting against the Taliban has a history from the 1990s with his joining the Northern Alliance under Ahmad Shah Massoud. It is believed that his anti-Taliban stand was toughening with the murder of his sister after prolonged torture and failed attempts to assassinate him by the terrorist group and its allies. Later, he became head of the country’s spy and intelligence agency (National Directorate of Security) later State Minister for Security Reforms, Interior Minister and Vice-President under Ashraf Ghani’s regime.

The tough stance to fight back the Taliban is manifested in his recent tweets. "I will never, ever and under no circumstances bow to the Talib terrorists. I will never betray the soul and legacy of my hero Ahmad Shah Massoud, the commander, the legend and the guide. I won't disappoint millions who listened to me. I will never be under one ceiling with the Taliban. NEVER," tweeted the Caretaker President of Afghanistan when the Taliban took control of the Presidential Palace of Afghanistan on August 15 2021.


“In my soil. With d people. For a cause & purpose. With solid belief in righteousness. Opposing Pak backed oppression & brutal dictatorship is our legitimacy”, he tweeted the day after the Taliban seized power and possibly relocated himself at Panjshir, forging an alliance with Northern Alliance led by Ahmad Massoud son of Ahmad Shah Massoud.


Ray of hope:


The Northern Alliance that has been at war with the Taliban got moral and more muscles with Amrullah Saleh and former Afghan Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi at the helm. The present Resistance 2.0 is the only organised military alliance determined for massive anti-Taliban guerilla combat in the country. Other former Vice-Presidents Karim Khalili, Abdul Rashid Dostum and Haji Abdul Qadeer, former mujahideen leader Muhammad Mohaqiq and other ex-Afghan army leaders are also in the war room of new resistance against Taliban.


Gaining new strength, its leader Ahmad Massoud called for help from ‘friendly countries of the West and announced their preparedness “to take on the Taliban once again”.


In his appeal to the Western counties through an Opinion in The Washington Post, Ahmad Massoud said, “We have soldiers from the Afghan regular army who were disgusted by the surrender of their commanders and are now making their way to the hills of Panjshir with their equipment. Former members of the Afghan Special Forces have also joined our struggle.”


“Yet we know that our military forces and logistics will not be sufficient. They will be rapidly depleted unless our friends in the West can find a way to supply us without delay. No matter what happens, my mujahideen fighters and I will defend Panjshir as the last bastion of Afghan freedom. Our morale is intact. We know from experience what awaits us. But we need more weapons, more ammunition and more supplies,” he called for help from France and Great Britain.


Resistance movement is widely prevalent in the country and likely to gain momentum rapidly. Local media reports of liberating three districts, Pol-e-Hesar, Deh Salah and Banu, from the control of the Taliban on Friday is a positive sign of prompt retaliation and result of people’s resistance.


If the call for aid in the common cause to fight the Taliban is being heard, in that case, the confidence of bringing democratic practices will be built while preventing Afghanistan from becoming a breeding ground for radical Islamist terrorism.

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