Afghanistan's Valley Of Resistance
Afghan opposition leaders have regrouped in Afghanistan's last holdout against the Taliban. They have currently gathered in the Panjshir Valley and are surrounded by Taliban controlled territory. They are preparing to launch armed resistance against the Taliban under the banner of the Northern Alliance.
Refusal to surrender
While global media outlets paint a picture of hopelessness and defeat in Afghanistan, regular Afghans are still processing their situation and many are not willing to surrender. Currently, the Northern Alliance is estimated to have between 2,000 - 2,500 fighters available, a number expected to surge as former ANA troops, special forces, and other anti-Taliban armed groups make their way to the valley. The Taliban is estimated to have around 70,000 troops scattered nationwide, with thousands currently making their way to Kabul for some sort of mass gathering, after their take over of the country.
Valley of resistance
The fighters of Panjshir Valley have held out not only against the Taliban in the 1990s, but also the Soviet Union in the 1980s. The Northern Alliance fought a defensive war against the Saudi Arabia and Pakistan backed Taliban and Al Qaeda. Pakistan invested millions of dollars funding the Taliban and Al Qaeda and also participated in much of their training. It has also hidden major Al Qaeda leaders such as Osama Bin Laden. In early 2001, the former leader Ahmad Shah Massoud travelled to Brussels where he warned about the international danger posed by the Pakistan backed Taliban and Afghanistan. Ahmad Shah Massoud also warned that his intelligence services had also uncovered a plot for a large-scale attack on U.S. soil being imminent. A few months after his visit to Europe, Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated by Taliban - Al Qaeda linked terrorists, on September 9, days before the September 11 attacks. The move to assassinate Ahmad Shah Massoud is speculated to have been a strategic move to destabilize the Northern Alliance premeditating an alliance with the US due to the planned 9/11 attacks. The Northern Alliance became a U.S. ally in September 2001 and carried out heavy fighting against the Taliban, backed by US air support. The participation of the Northern Alliance helped the US maintain a low number of troops, preventing larger casualties during combat. By December 2001, the Northern Alliance backed by the US, won its war against the Taliban which fled into the mountains and backed to its ally Pakistan to regroup.
The resurgence of an old ally
Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, is now the leader of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan. Massoud says that his mujahideen fighters are prepared to once again take on the Taliban. His fighters need more weapons, more ammunition, and more supplies. While international militaries are still licking their wounds and US leadership claims its done 'everything it could' for Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance resurgence promises to reign in the Taliban. Massoud is joined by vice president Amrullah Saleh, who was speculated to have fled Afghanistan but was actually making his way to Panjshir to help form a resistance movement. On his way to Panjshir it is claimed Saleh survived several attacks and an ambush by the Taliban. Saleh was Afghanistan’s first vice president until President Ashraf Ghani fled Kabul and he is now claiming to be the caretaker president under Afghanistan’s 2004 Constitution. He also claims continuity of the Afghan government and denies surrender. For now, the leaders of the movement insist that their goal is to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban on behalf of the Afghan government.
In a declaration written by Ahmad Massoud in the Washington Post, he says.
"We also have the weapons carried by the Afghans who, over the past 72 hours, have responded to my appeal to join the resistance in Panjshir. 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."
"Know that millions of Afghans share your values. We have fought for so long to have an open society, one where girls could become doctors, our press could report freely, our young people could dance and listen to music or attend soccer matches in the stadiums that were once used by the Taliban for public executions — and may soon be again. The Taliban is not a problem for the Afghan people alone. Under Taliban control, Afghanistan will without doubt become ground zero of radical Islamist terrorism; plots against democracies will be hatched here once again."
"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. America and its democratic allies do not just have the fight against terrorism in common with Afghans. We now have a long history made up of shared ideals and struggles. There is still much that you can do to aid the cause of freedom. You are our only remaining hope."