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Panjshir rebellion against Taliban flares amid US exit from Afghanistan

Ahmad Massoud, the son of a legendary resistance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud

While the Taliban are celebrating the exit of the US forces after two decades of war by firing shots in the air, a lone anti-Taliban province stands firm in the mountains of the  Panjshir region.  Ahmad Massoud, the son of a legendary resistance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, who built his rock-solid reputation by standing up to the Soviet and Taliban forces.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with the junior Massoud is former first vice president and now acting president , Amrullah Saleh. Thousands of soldiers and commanders of the Afghan army have joined the two leaders, ready for a last stand if required.

"This war has been forced on us by a group that is dependent on many countries and is not an independent national movement," Massoud said.  "If  the Taliban are willing to share power with everyone and are willing to establish justice and to give equal rights and freedom to all of Afghanistan, then I will step down and quit politics,” Massoud told the Foreign Policy (FP) magazine.

Ahmad Massoud: ‘Peace Does Not Mean to Surrender’

Massoud stressed that if negotiations with the Taliban fail, the Northern Alliance will have no option but to fight the Taliban. Both the groups had their first direct talks last week and it was decided that the parties will  not attack each other until the second round of negotiations. But  Massoud has accused the Taliban of violating the ceasefire. It was also reported that the Taliban has asked for the providers to cut off of the mobile and internet services in the valley. On Monday, there were reports of heavy fighting between the Taliban and the resistance forces of the Northern Alliance.

Also read:  Besieged Panjshir fights on, but lengthy negotiations with Taliban may not be far away

Afghan journalist Bilawal Sarwary said in his twitter post  that there have reports about fighting in the Jabul Siraj in Parwan province, where casualties and fatalities have been reported. Phone and Internet services were also intermittent.

According to Afghan sources,  Monday’s fighting flared on the outskirts of Panjshir, as resistance forces battled the Taliban. There are claims and counterclaims by both the parties sharing posts on the social media platforms. A supporter of the North Alliance said that the resistance forces  have killed 85 Taliban fighters.

Taliban supporters in turn have  posted victory  pictures of  their fighters.

“The attack on Panjshir is being led by Qari Fasihuddin, a well-known Taliban military commander.”

Meanwhile,  the Northern Alliance leader Amrullah Saleh has said that “ the Panjshir headquartered  resistance isn't for Panjshir but for the whole country. The Afghan national flag is in full mast & hoisted in government buildings. Our resistance is for rights & values. The non-Talib Afghs are politically, emotionally & sentimentally w/ the Resistance”.

Afghanistan swiftly fell under Taliban control over the summer as the US ended 20 years at war inside the country.

Also read:  Guns fall silent for now in Panjshir as talks with Taliban begin

The capital city of Kabul fell to the Taliban on August 15, prompting a chaotic and deadly exit, which was completed on Monday midnight with the last American soldier boarding a flight out of the country.

But while Americans flew out, the resistance movement in Panjshir dug in.

Massoud reiterated that aim of the resistance is not to start a civil war, he noted. He stressed that the Taliban must share power with everyone, establish justice, provide equality and freedom to the people of the country. All other options are unacceptable, said the leader of the resistance.

Massoud also said that he did not receive any overseas financial support from abroad, though  many countries in the region allegedly sided with the Taliban.