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Has Ahmad Massoud, the face of resistance, joined the Taliban?

Has Ahmad Massoud, the face of resistance, joined the Taliban?

Amid the chaos on the streets of Kabul and difficulties in cobbling together a new government, the Taliban have thrown a bombshell—Ahmad Massoud the face of the anti-Taliban resistance radiating from the famed Panjshir valley, has joined the militant group’s ranks.

There is still no official confirmation of the claim by the Taliban, an organisation that has mastered the art of mind-games in the fog of war.

Iran’s website https://english.almayadeen.net/ is quoting 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.

Ahmad Massoud’s father, Ahmad Shah Massoud,  had led the Northern Alliance forces, first to fight the Soviet red army in the 80s, and subsequently the Taliban a decade later.  Massoud was assassinated  on September 9, 2001, two days prior to the infamous 9/11 strikes in New York.

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

After the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15, Massoud along with Vice President Amrullah Saleh and defence minister  Bismillah Mohammadi helicoptered to the Panjshir valley to raise the banner of revolt.

On Friday, General Mohammadi, tweeted that areas of Dah Saleh, Pol Hesar, and Banoo in Baghlan, north of Panjshir, are now under his forces' control.

 "Taliban" Spokesperson, Suhail Shaheen, confirmed that "forming an Afghan government will include not only Taliban leaders but also other politicians.”