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Afghanistan: Amrullah Saleh leads ‘Panjshir Resistance’ against Taliban, working with Ahmed Masood to unite Northern Alliance warlords

Following the onslaught of the Taliban across Afghanistan, a similar alliance - The Panjshir Resistance, of former Northern Alliance members and other anti-Taliban Mujahideen is being worked out under the leadership of the Afghan politician and military leader Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud and Amrullah Saleh, as per reports.

The forces of Afghanistan caretaker President Amrullah Saleh have recaptured the Charikar area in the Parwan province north of Kabul from the Taliban.

According to the reports, the resistance forces led by former Vice President of Afghanistan and current acting President Amrullah Saleh attacked the Taliban forces on the outskirts of Panjshir valley. The forces have reportedly gained control over the Charikar area of the Parwan province from the radical Islamist group backed by the Pakistan military.

The recapture of the Charikar area is critical as it lies between the passes connecting Kabul with Mazar-i-Shariff, the largest city in Northern Afghanistan, through the Salang tunnel.

Unconfirmed reports have suggested that remaining forces loyal to the Afghan government, under the command of Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum and Atta Muhammad Nur Ata Noor, are linking up with the forces loyal to Saleh to take control of the entire Panjshir region.

The forces loyal to caretaker President Amrullah Saleh attacked the Charikar from the Panjshir valley, while another force under Uzbek leader Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum attacked from the North, indicating an attempt to link up.

Panjshir raises flags of resistance, Amrullah Saleh takes leadership

Meanwhile, Panjshir, the only province that remains outside the Taliban control, have reportedly hoisted the resistance flag of the Northern Alliance all over again. Amidst the complete takeover of Afghanistan by the Islamist group Taliban, a resistance force, led by Ahmad Massoud, son of late Afghan leader Ahmad Shah Massoud – known as the “Lion” of Panjshir, are gaining in strength in the Panjshir valley, north of Kabul.

The flags of the Northern Alliance or the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan, which has been hoisted for the time since 2001 in Panjshir valley, have been raised again across Panjashir.

The Northern Alliance was a resistance movement against the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan in 1996. Several anti-Taliban former mujahideen had united together, with the active support of several countries, to oust the Taliban-led Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from Kabul. The Northern Alliance was led by former Defense Minister Ahmad Shah Massoud. Initially, it mainly included Tajiks, but later, leaders of other ethnic groups had also joined the Northern Alliance.

Following the onslaught of the Taliban across Afghanistan, a similar alliance – The Panjshir Resistance, of former Northern Alliance members and other anti-Taliban Mujahideen is being worked out under the leadership of Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh. It is believed that other anti-Taliban forces, led by the likes of Dostum, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, Salima Mazari, may unite yet again to fight against the Taliban.

Some of these resistance forces are already operating in their strongholds that are not under the control of the Taliban yet. Following the capture of Kabul by the Taliban, the Panjshir-based alliance remains the last hope of the organised resistance against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Reports suggest that caretaker Amrullah Saleh has already reached the Panjshir Valley. Earlier on Tuesday, Amrullah Saleh had staked claim to the presidency of the country as the legitimate caretaker president. Citing the Afghan Constitution, Saleh had said in the event of escape, resignation or death of the President, the Vice President becomes the caretaker President.

“I am currently inside my country and am the legitimate caretaker President. I am reaching out to all leaders to secure their support and consensus,” said Saleh.

Panjshir is a mountainous region at the foothills of the Hindu Kush. Saleh and Ahmad Massoud are making efforts to put together the first pieces of a guerilla movement to take on the victorious Taliban as fighters regroup in Panjshir.

A purported video of Ahmad Masoud in Panjshir valley with his forces urging Afghans to join him for the freedom of their country has also gone viral on the internet.

Afghan soldiers, who had managed to hide from Taliban troops, are beginning to arrive in Panjshir on the call of Ahmad Massoud. Many of the Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras in the Afghan army have also arrived with their equipment, including armed personnel carriers and tanks, after withdrawing from the nearby frontlines.

However, Panjshir is locked and surrounded by the Taliban and does not share a border with any other country. There are reports on how India had operated an airbase at Farkhor in Tajikistan, 200 km away from Panjshir. India had supplied the fighters of Ahmed Shah Masood with equipment and arms to lead a resistance against ISI-backed Taliban. Masood was also brought to the India-run hospital in Farkhor when he was fatally attacked by Al Qaeda. But he could not be saved.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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