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Afghanistan has not lost the war says Ahmad Massoud, but resistance forces need help

Afghanistan has not lost the war says Ahmad Massoud, but resistance forces need help

“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,” writes  Ahmad Massoud, also called “Young Commander Sahib”. The picturesque Panjshir valley, through which flows the fast-flowing Panj river, in northern Afghanistan, has never been captured by the Taliban, the new masters of Kabul.

Son of Ahmad Shah Massoud a legendary Afghan commander of Tajik ethnicity, the junior Massoud is now the new leader of the Afghan resistance against Taliban regime. And he is not alone.

The first Vice President Amarullah Saleh who has proclaimed himself citing the Afghan constitution as an “acting” president of Afghanistan.

“I will never, ever &  under no circumstances bow to d Talib terrorists. I will never betray d soul & legacy of my hero Ahmad Shah Masoud, the commander, the legend & the guide. I won't dis-appoint millions who listened to me. I will never be under one ceiling with Taliban,” said Saleh, close confidant of the senior Massoud, the leader of the Northern Alliance, which had earlier combated the Taliban. Ahmad Shah Massoud was by assassinated by al-Qaeda suicide bombers just two days before of 9/11.

Also read:  Panjshir, once the hub of the anti-Taliban resistance, vows to fight back

“If Taliban warlords launch an assault, they will of course face staunch resistance from us. The flag of the National Resistance Front will fly over every position that they attempt to take, as the National United Front flag flew 20 years ago. Yet we know that our military forces and logistics will not be sufficient. They will be rapidly depleted unless our friends in the West can find a way to supply us without delay,” he writes in the Washington post asking for help, the way his father got in his fight against the Taliban.

Opinion: The mujahideen resistance to the Taliban begins now. But we need help.

Saleh has a formidable task ahead of him. The Taliban holds strategic terrain and Panjshir is surrounded. Morale in the rank and file of the Taliban’s army is buoyed by its stunning victory that saw 32 of 34 provinces collapse in just 11 days. Only Panjshir remains “free”. Panjshir province which is about three hours from Kabul. Ahmad Shah Massoud's son and defence minister Bismillah Mohammadi with him. It doesn't feel like they are about to give up without a fight. Reports say that thousands of former Afghan Defence National Security forces (ANDSF) have joined them. The Panjshir resistance claims they have taken control of Chahikar and is fighting for the strategic Salang Pass, which would give Saleh a lifeline to the outside world. Without outside support and supplies, the Panjshir resistance will be hard pressed to sustain itself. 

Also read:  Ahmad Massoud, Amrullah Saleh and Bismillah Mohammadi lead Panjshir resistance against Taliban

“To the many others — in France, Europe, America, the Arab world, elsewhere — who have helped us in our struggle for freedom, first against the Soviets and then against the Taliban 20 years ago, I ask: Will you, dear friends in freedom, assist us once more, as in the past? Despite the betrayal of some, we still have confidence in you,” appealed the son who has been trying to follow in his father’s footsteps.

“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,” Massoud warns in the article. Two decades ago, for anti-Taliban forces and friendly  journalists, only “access” to Kabul was through the narrow Northern Alliance region  from Khoja Bhawauddin to the North down to the Panjshir Valley, a few hours away from Kabul.