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Ahmad Massoud refuses to surrender Panjshir valley, sets terms for talks with the Taliban

Ahmad Massoud refuses to surrender Panjshir valley, sets terms for talks with the Taliban

Ahmad Massoud, the leader of the anti-Taliban resistance, has refused to surrender the Panjshir valley to the extremist group, but expressed his readiness for a dialogue. 

It now appears that Mossoud, the son of the legendary commander Ahmad Shah Massoud who was assassinated on September 9, 2001, is laying down two key conditions that could yield a smooth transition in Afghanistan.

Earlier, the notorious Haqqani network had announced that Massoud had jumped ship and joined the Taliban. That apparently does not appear to be the case.

First, Massoud junior has signaled that he is ready for a power sharing deal with the Taliban, under specific conditions. In an interview with Al Arabiya television station, the young Afghan of Tajik ethnicity, said that he was ready for the formation of a comprehensive government to rule the country, with the participation of the Taliban.

But Massoud also warned that war would be “unavoidable” if the extremist group refuses dialogue.

Also read:  Has Ahmad Massoud, the face of resistance, joined the Taliban?

Second, Massoud asserted that he was not ready to cede control of the Panjshir valley, and this was his bottom line for any dialogue. According to Al Arabiya, the Taliban had given Massoud a four-hour ultimatum to give up Panjshir valley, north of Kabul, where he, along with acting President Amrullah Saleh and other top commanders had helicoptered, following the fall of Kabul last Sunday.

“We confronted the Soviet Union, and we will be able to confront the Taliban,” Massoud warned.

But the young commander said he was ready to forgive the Taliban for killing his father if the conditions for peace and security in Afghanistan are met.

The senior Massoud was killed in a blast triggered by Al-Qaeda militants, pretending as video journalists. The Taliban bore indirect responsibility for the assassination, as they had sheltered the Al-Qaeda on Afghan soil.

After his father’s death , Ahmad Masoud lived abroad, spending  several years in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, from where he left for Iran to finish is high school studies. He concluded his military studies in the UK.

On Saturday, the  Haqqani network, apparently playing mind-games had claimed that Massoud had broken from the path of resistance and joined  the Taliban.

Iran’s website https://english.almayadeen.net/ quoted a field officer in the Haqqani Network as saying that the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud has pledged allegiance to the "Islamic Emirate" declared by the "Taliban".

The Haqqani Network also added that Massoud’s co-option followed  talks with Abdullah Abdullah (Afghanistan's former Chief Executive) and Anas Haqqani ,a Taliban leader.

India Narrative has reported earlier that the Taliban are also reaching out to the Panjshiri leadership, with former CEO Abdullah Abdullah, who shares his Tajik ethnicity with the Panjshir valley crowd, being an ideal conduit. Abdullah Abdullah, the head of High Council for National Reconciliation,  and former President Hamid Karzai on August 18 had a meeting with Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani, nephew of the leader of the Haqqani network, a key component of the Taliban pantheon.

Also Read:  In the art of mind- games, Taliban make another deft move by embracing Ashraf Ghani’s brother

The former Vice President also met the Panjshiri commanders at his residence on Saturday. “We met with the elders, religious scholars, representatives & commanders of Panjshir Province in my residence in Kabul. We discussed the current developments in the country, & ways of supporting peace & stability”Abdullah Abdullah tweeted.

On Friday, former defence minister Bismillah Mohammadi  tweeted that areas of Dah Saleh, Pol Hesar, and Banoo in Baghlan, north of Panjshir, are now under his forces' control, signalling that the banner of revolt against the Taliban had already been raised.