The U.S. Should Back Anti-Taliban Resistance Groups, Says Lawmaker

Ahmad Massoud, the son of resistance icon Ahmad Shah Massoud, founded the NRF

Hundreds of Taliban fighters were ambushed by resistance forces in the Panjshir Valley. Resistance forces drove more than thousands Taliban terrorists out of the valley, says anti-Taliban resistance group in Afghanistan says it has thousands of people ready to fight.

“I write from the Panjshir Valley today, ready to follow in my father’s footsteps, with mujahideen fighters who are prepared to once again take on the Taliban.

“We have stores of ammunition and arms that we have patiently collected since my father’s time, because we knew this day might come.”

These words, published on Thursday in the Washington Post, confirmed rumours that a bastion of resistance against the Taliban is once again forming in the Panjshir Valley, the edge of which is just 43 miles (70km) to the north of Kabul.

Amrullah Saleh, who was vice-president in the government ousted by the Taliban and is now based in Panjshir, tweeted that the Taliban had massed forces near the entrance to the valley.

The NRF says it wants to pursue peaceful negotiations before fighting

The Panjshir region – in particular the Panjshir Valley – is famous for having successfully fought off invasions, including from Soviet forces during the Soviet-Afghan war from 1979 to 1989, and the Taliban in the 1990s.

The newspaper article was penned by Ahmad Massoud, son of the legendary mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, who led an army of freedom fighters from Panjshir in successful battles against the Soviets and later, the Taliban.

It follows a flurry of pictures and videos emerging from the region in recent days of prominent Afghans bearing weapons and posing next to Humvees displaying the Afghan flag.

But as news of possible peace talks between the group and the Taliban spreads, what do we know about the movement taking shape in the mountains and what can its history tell us about how the “Resistance 2.0” could operate?

Rumours that prominent Afghan politicians were regrouping in the Panjshir Valley began circulating on Sunday after vice president Amrullah Saleh posted a tweet announcing his commitment to fight on and follow the legacy of his “hero”, Ahmad Shah Massoud.

The NRF’s ultimate goal is a decentralised form of governance in the country.

Later, a video emerged of Saleh and Ahmad Massoud and a weapon-clad entourage boarding a helicopter allegedly headed for Panjshir.

These images, taken on Monday, show five Afghan military helicopters and tens of Humvee vehicles congregating around the Marshall Fahim stadium Rukha, 31 miles (50km) away from the southern border of Panjshir.

Speaking to The National newspaper, Mr Massoud said that scores of Afghan military had fled to Panjshir, bringing hundreds of Humvees, armoured cars and five helicopters with them.

Another video began circulating on Wednesday showing a convoy brandishing the flag of the Northern Alliance, the rebel group that fought against the Taliban after it seized power in 1996.

As the week has drawn on, more and more Afghan commandos have publicly announced their support for the “Resistance 2.0”.

The anti-Taliban sentiment had been intensifying in the region even before the insurgents captured Kabul.

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