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

Former Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Massoud meeting in Panjshir after the Taliban takeover of Kabul

About three hours drive from Kabul is Panjshir, a northern province still free from Taliban rule. With the Hindu Kush mountain range providing a natural fortress, the valley had taken control of its own security since the times of Ahmad Shah Massoud – better known as the 'Lion of Panjshir' for his heroics against the Soviets, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

It is in these high passes now that another anti-Taliban coalition seems to be forming. As chaos rules in the rest of Afghanistan, the flag of the Northern Alliance was raised in Panjshir a few days ago. Let us look at some players who will play a key role in the new resistance movement:


Ahmad Massoud: Son of Ahmad Shah Massoud and now the leader of the National Resistance Front, the 32-year-old holds a bachelor's degree from London's King's College and has also studied at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. After returning home in 2019, the junior Massoud has spent a considerable time reuniting followers of his legendary father. Now, with the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, Ahmad Massoud has emerged as one of the main leaders of the resistance movement. Pictures and videos of him having talks with Amrullah Saleh, the Vice President in the Ashraf Ghani regime, have emerged as they plan their next move ahead with other commanders.

"My father never forgot this as he fought against the Taliban regime. Up until the moment he was assassinated on Sept. 9, 2001, at the behest of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, he was fighting for the fate of Afghanistan but also for the West. Now this common struggle is more essential than ever in these dark, tense hours for my homeland," Massoud wrote in an opinion piece for The Washington Post on Wednesday. 

"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," he added insisting that under the Taliban control, Afghanistan will become "ground zero of radical Islamist terrorism" where "plots against democracies" will be hatched once again.

Afghanistan Kabul

General Bismillah Mohammadi: The defence minister in Ghani government, Mohammadi has vowed to "liberate the nation from terrorists" after the Taliban takeover. On Wednesday, he tweeted "Where are you, my house is cold" with a photograph of Ahmad Shah Massoud, his former boss. Having led the Afghan army and also country's interior ministry in the past, Mohammadi is expected to contribute extensively to the resistance movement against the Taliban regime.

"I am not so unscrupulous as to sit around a table with the killers of thousands of defense forces and innocent civilians, and declare my support for this terrorist group. And religious Afghanistan can not rule. We will liberate Afghanistan from these terrorists. History will judge Ghani, the lover of his gang!," Mohammadi has said in a series of tweets over the past few days, thus making his intentions clear. 

Afghanistan Saleh

Amrullah Saleh: Calling himself Afghanistan's "legitimate" caretaker president after Ghani fled the country, the former Vice President also comes from the Panjshir valley and has been a huge follower of Ahmad Shah Massoud. Saleh has been reaching out all leaders to secure their support and consensus in the fight against the Taliban and said that he will never bow to the "Talib terrorists", an act which will betray the soul and legacy of his hero Ahmad Shah Masoud who remains "the commander, the legend and the guide" for him, forever.

"Nations must respect the rule of law, not violence. Afghanistan is too big for Pakistan to swallow and too big for Talibs to govern. Don't let your histories have a chapter on humiliation and bowing to terror groups," he tweeted a little while ago. 

Also Read: Who will take the Afghan refugees fleeing Taliban rule?