Fighting continues in Afghanistan’s Panjshir valley as anti-Taliban resistance vows to hold out

Taliban members patrol after they entered the Panjshir Valley, the supreme province the neighborhood had no longer seized all the intention in which thru its sweep final month in Afghanistan on September 6, 2021.

Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat | Anadolu Agency | Getty Photos

The placement of the Panjshir Valley in the east of Afghanistan remained unclear Tuesday, following Taliban statements that the militants had taken the final holdout province in the nation even as anti-Taliban resistance members vowed to support fighting. 

If the claims of victory are factual, it intention that the total of Afghanistan is now below management of the Taliban, who thru a series of honest battlefield beneficial properties and Afghan military surrenders thru July and early August took over the nation of nearly 40 million as the U.S. withdrew its forces. 

It might possibly well possibly well additionally mean an unheard of and profoundly symbolic defeat for a province known for its thus a long way undefeated combatants, who over the final quite loads of decades successfully withstood both Taliban and Soviet invasions and who had been very fundamental allies to the U.S. 

Fighting modified into once continuing as of late Tuesday, in accordance with a member of the National Resistance Entrance, who spoke to CNBC from Panjshir on situation of anonymity on account of security risks. The NRF is a multi-ethnic neighborhood of tribes, militias and Afghan military personnel who oppose the Taliban.

Afghan resistance movement and anti-Taliban riot forces bewitch piece in military coaching on the Abdullah Khil space of Dara district in Panjshir province on August 24, 2021.

Ahmad Sahel Arman | AFP | Getty Photos

While the Taliban absorb entered the historically fundamental valley, there isn’t such a thing as a proof that they’ve taken management of it, says Kamal Alam, a nonresident senior fellow on the Atlantic Council, who modified into once in the Panjshir true final month. 

“Taliban absorb claimed they took Panjshir before with out proof. This time one ingredient is determined: they absorb positively entered Panjshir,” Alam told CNBC on Tuesday. “Taking it entirely is one other matter, and yet to be proven. They’ve supreme taken parts of it at a minimal stage for now, that mighty is certain.”

First the Soviets, then the Taliban: A legacy of resistance

Alam is senior advisor to the Massoud Foundation, an organization that promotes the legacy of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the anti-Taliban resistance leader who modified into once assassinated before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Massoud’s son Ahmad is the leader of the National Resistance Entrance and CEO of the Massoud Foundation. In a willing assertion posted to social media on Monday, Ahmad Massoud vowed to fight on in opposition to the Taliban and sought to rally others to create the identical.

“In no map military stress on us and our territory will reduce our unravel to continue our fight,” he said.

“Wherever you are, whether inner the nation or exterior, we enchantment to you to gather up in resistance for the admire, integrity, and freedom of our nation […] We, the NRF, will stand firmly with you.”

Ahmad Massoud, son of Afghanistan’s slain anti-Soviet resistance hero Ahmad Shah Massoud, waves as he arrives to abet a gathering in Bazarak, Panjshir province, Afghanistan, September 5, 2019.

Mohammad Ismail | Reuters

Ahmad Massoud criticized the Taliban for no longer abiding by a resolution reached by Afghanistan’s Council of Ulema, or top non secular scholars, calling for a close of hostilities.

“We thought of it final and non-violable, searching forward to the quite loads of aspect’s response,” Ahmad Massoud said in his Monday assertion. “Yet the Taliban revealed their factual nature by discarding the resolution’s search data from” with their offensive into the Panjshir. 

Ahmad Massoud, 32, modified into once trained in the West at Sandhurst Military Academy and King’s College London. He has vowed to continue the legacy of his late father, claiming to fight for a free and democratic Afghanistan.

Is named the “Lion of the Panjshir,” Ahmad Shah Massoud led resistance in opposition to the Soviets in the 1980s and the Taliban in the 1990s. The mountainous Panjshir persisted as one of many supreme parts of Afghanistan the Taliban had been no longer in a position to dangle all the intention in which thru that time. 

Afghan men wave a flag above the portrait of late Afghan commander Ahmad Shah Massoud (R) in Paryan district of Panjshir province on August 23, 2021, as the Taliban said their combatants had surrounded resistance forces holed up in the valley, however had been taking a gaze to negotiate in desire to bewitch the fight to them.

Ahmad Sahel Arman | AFP | Getty Photos

Ahmad Shah Massoud worked with CIA paramilitary forces to provoke and teach local tribes to fight the Taliban, however modified into once assassinated by the neighborhood’s militants true two days before the al Qaeda terrorist attacks on the World Alternate Heart and Pentagon that precipitated the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan.

Taliban victory might possibly well well be ‘mammoth psychological defeat’

The implications and the significance of losing the Panjshir to the Taliban might possibly well well be mammoth, said Alam. “No longer true for Afghanistan, however the area — 9/11, the close of the Frigid War and guerilla battle folklore all collide in Panjshir.”

For the final two and a half of decades, “the Taliban had been overwhelmed over and over once more, at any time when they tried to enter the northeast; no longer true Panjshir,” Alam said. “Nonetheless now if God forbid Panjshir modified into once to drop, this is a mammoth psychological and tactical defeat with a strategic commerce for the sort forward for Central Asia too.”

Emily Winterbotham, director of the terrorism and warfare neighborhood on the Royal United Providers Institute in London, echoed that sentiment.  

“If confirmed, the Taliban’s victory over the minute province of Panjshir is deeply symbolic,” Winterbotham said. “It ends, on the least for now, the final strand of resistance to the Taliban, a feat no longer accomplished by the regime the fundamental time round in the 1990s.”

It might possibly well possibly well additionally expose true how mighty stronger the Taliban are when compared to 20 years up to now. The Taliban absorb no longer supreme grown in size and by map of pork up or acceptance in parts of the nation; they additionally now absorb possession of billions of greenbacks charge of U.S. weapons and two decades of expertise fighting Western militaries. 

While the Taliban absorb said they intend to assign a extra inclusive and conciliatory leadership than up to now, the habits of its combatants in fresh weeks expose a particular account. Taliban members absorb killed and overwhelmed civilians — in particular protesters — including ladies folk and children. 

“Issues are mounting that the Taliban will survey to accurate harsh retribution for the resistance in opposition to the inhabitants of the valley,” Winterbotham said. “How the Taliban responds is an indicator of how mighty the neighborhood has truly modified.”

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