Taliban, Northern Alliance find way to avoid ‘bloodshed’ in Panjshir Valley

By: News Desk      Published: 11:25 AM, 26 Aug, 2021
Taliban, Northern Alliance find way to avoid ‘bloodshed’ in Panjshir Valley
Afghan resistance movement and anti-Taliban uprising forces check passing vehicles as they are deployed to patrol along a road at the Rah-e-Tang in Panjshir Valley.–AFP

The Taliban and the Northern Alliance have reportedly struck a peace deal in order to avoid bloodshed in Panjshir Valley.

The two sides have agreed to cease attacks against each other as meetings between the two delegations of the Taliban and Northern Alliance were taking place over the last two days at Charikar in Afghanistan's Parwan province. 

The peace agreement will be announced during a press conference today by the Taliban and Northern Alliance leaders. 

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The most significant pocket of resistance against the Taliban, among numerous others, following their takeover of Afghanistan, is in Panjshir Valley.

Comprising anti-Taliban militia fighters and former Afghan security forces, they vowed to resist as the Taliban send fighters to surround the area.

Resistance spreading in Afghanistan: Massoud brother

Resistance to the Taliban has spread extensively across Afghanistan and the hardline Islamists will be unable to crush it in the wake of their takeover, the brother of famed commander Ahmad Shah Massoud said Wednesday.

The comments by Ahmad Wali Massoud to AFP in Paris come as his nephew Ahmad Massoud, the son of the commander slain in 2001, seeks to lead -- alongside former vice-president Amrullah Saleh -- an armed resistance based in the Panjshir valley north of Kabul.

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"If the Taliban want to attack, people have the right to resist, to stand against the Taliban. The geography of the resistance has expanded so much across Afghanistan," said Massoud, who has been based in Pakistan where he headed an NGO protecting the legacy of his brother.

He argued that "the beliefs of the people of Afghanistan have changed in the past 20 years. There has been a big jump."

"The women of Afghanistan are the resistance, because their values are very different from the ones of the Taliban. The young generations of Afghanistan, which make up 70 percent of the population, they are part of the resistance. 

"No matter what happens, resistance will continue. It is freedom fight for a universal belief, for universal rights. It will never die."

- 'Moral obligation' -

Ahmad Massoud, son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, vowed to never surrender but said he was open to negotiations with the new rulers of Afghanistan, in an interview published by Paris Match on Wednesday.

Ahmad Massoud claimed "thousands" of men were joining his National Resistance Front in the Panjshir valley, which was never captured by invading Soviet forces in 1979 or the Taliban during their first period in power from 1996-2001.

He also renewed his appeal for support from foreign leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, and expressed bitterness at being refused weapons shortly before the fall of Kabul earlier this month.

Ahmad Wali Massoud added: "The international community has got a moral obligation to help us."

But he said the resistance forces were prepared for a grinding guerrilla struggle with the Taliban, just as the hardliners had waged an armed struggle against NATO forces for two decades.

"Our guys have a lot of experience... If it comes to a resistance, we are pretty sure that across Afghanistan, there will be warfare everywhere to exhaust the Taliban. That will be guerrilla resistance, military resistance, but at the same time there will be political resistance."

Ahmad Shah Massoud, a francophile with close links to Paris and the West, was nicknamed the "Lion of Panjshir" for his role in fighting the Soviet occupation in the 1980s and the Taliban regime in the 1990s. 

He was assassinated by Al-Qaeda two days before the September 11, 2001 attacks.

With inputs from AFP.