News & Politics

Afghanistan's Armed Resistance to the Taliban Enjoys First Successes

AP Photo/Zabi Karimi

As the Taliban begins to form a government in Kabul, elsewhere in Afghanistan, tribal resistance to the Taliban is rising. Word out of Panjshir Valley is that anti-Taliban fighters have scored their first victories and are organizing their own resistance to Taliban rule.

Panjshir has always been a hotbed of anti-Taliban resistance going back to before the U.S. invasion. When the U.S. arrived, it was fighters from Panjshir who smoothed the way for our special forces.

Even today, Panjshir is one of the few remaining pockets of opposition to the Taliban, and according to local leaders, the resistance fighters captured 20 Taliban soldiers and killed 30 in Baghlan province. The resistance overran three districts.

Washington Post:

Friday’s assault to retake the three districts of Puli Hisar, Dih Salah and Bano — which was confirmed by a former defense minister — came after Taliban fighters conducted house-to-house searches in the Andarab valley of the province, local commanders said.

As in most parts of Afghanistan, the Taliban had taken over the districts with little resistance in recent weeks. Shuja said that the local residents had told the Taliban fighters they can govern as long as they don’t enter their villages and homes.

So when the Taliban came to conduct searches, former Afghan military servicemen, along with civilians, decided to rise up. They drove out the Taliban in less than a day.

According to Fox News, one of the resistance leaders is Ahmad Massoud, son of Afghan mujahideen hero Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was assassinated by al-Qaeda days before the 9/11 terror attacks.

Massoud heads up an organization known as the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, or the Second Resistance. In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Massoud pleaded for help from the West.

“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…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.”

Is Massoud just trying to scare the U.S. and the West into giving him and his fighters lots of weapons and money? That is certainly part of his calculation. But the more trouble Massoud and his fighters can cause the Taliban the better.

Where Pakistan was the epicenter of anti-Taliban sentiment prior to 9/11, today it appears that Tajikistan will fill that role. Ethnic Tajiks, bitter tribal foes of the Pashtun Taliban, are trickling into Afghanistan to join the resistance.

If the Panjshir resistance want any hope for external support, they may receive it from anti-Taliban sympathizers in neighboring Tajikistan. The Afghan ambassador to Tajikistan, Zahir Aghbar, rejects Taliban rule and said Panjshir Valley will serve as a resistance stronghold led by Amrullah Saleh, Afghanistan’s First Vice President who declared himself the legitimate caretaker president of Afghanistan in Panjshir after former President Ghani fled the country. Aghbar said the Taliban must refrain from violence against innocent civilians and show that they respect the Afghan constitution, respect women and ethnic minority rights, and adhere to international human rights standards if they wish to be formally recognized. Otherwise, Aghbar warned, there will be a risk of a renewed civil war.

Former President Ghani is busy negotiating with the Taliban for whatever scraps they will throw him and his cronies to join a sham coalition government. Whatever government emerges from the talks underway now will be completely dominated by the Taliban.

Whatever assistance the anti-Taliban groups get won’t be coming from the United States. Biden won’t want to act in a beastly manner with the Taliban and will give them a free hand as long as they don’t oversee a government that allows a terrorist group to hijack a bunch of planes and fly them into American skyscrapers.