while last Air evacuations from Kabul airport in chaosOn Sunday, the Taliban announced a large-scale attack on the Panjshir Valley, the only region still outside its control in Afghanistan.
The movement wrote in a tweet on its account on “Twitter” in Arabic that “hundreds” of its members “are heading towards the state of Panjshir to control it, after Local state officials refused to hand her over peacefully“.
A short video clip showed a column of seized trucks with a white Taliban flag, but still marked as government, as they drove down a highway.
Members of the “National Resistance Front” in Nabgshire
Former government forces had gathered in the Panjshir Valley, the mountainous region north of Kabul, long known as a stronghold of Taliban opponents.
One of the leaders of this movement called the “National Resistance Front” is The son of the famous anti-Taliban leader Ahmad Shah Massoud.
The Front’s spokesman, Ali Maysam Nazari, told AFP that the “National Resistance Front” is ready for a “long-term conflict” but is still seeking to negotiate with the Taliban on an inclusive government.
“The terms of a peace agreement with the Taliban are decentralization, a system that guarantees social justice, equality, rights and freedom for all,” Nazari said.
In an interview with Al-Arabiya channel on Sunday, he said: Massoud said “government forces came to Panjshir from several Afghan provinces.”
He warned that “if the Taliban refuse dialogue, there is no escape from war,” adding: “The Taliban will not last long if they continue on this path. We are ready to defend Afghanistan and warn against bloodshed.”
As Ahmed Masoud said in another interview with “Reuters” from his stronghold in the Panjshir Valley province: “We want the Taliban to realize that the only way forward is negotiations… We don’t want a war.”
Massoud, son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, one of the main leaders of the anti-Soviet Afghan resistance in the 1980s, said his supporters were ready to fight if the Taliban tried to invade their province. “They want to defend, to fight, they want to resist any totalitarian regime,” he added.
It is not yet certain whether the operation by the Taliban has begun or not. A Taliban official said the attack on Panjshir had already begun, but one of Massoud’s aides said there were no indications that the convoy had actually entered the narrow lane leading to the valley, and there were no reports of fighting.
Ahmed Masoud in Panjshir
Masoud said he did not organize the seizure of three districts in the northern province of Baghlan, which borders Panjshir, last week, explaining that it was local militia groups that did so in response to “atrocities” in the area.
Massoud called for the formation of an inclusive, broad-based government in Kabul that would represent all of Afghanistan’s different ethnic groups, saying that a “totalitarian regime” should not be recognized by the international community.
He added that his forces, which one of his aides said numbered more than 6,000, would need international support if it came to fighting. He explained that they did not come from Panjshir only, saying: “There are many from many other provinces seeking refuge in the Panjshir Valley. They stand with us and do not want to accept another identity of Afghanistan.”