(AFGHANISTAN) Islamic Emirate Report: Taliban says that “hundreds” of its fighters are heading to the Panjshir Valley, one of the few parts of Afghanistan not yet controlled by the group #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Aug.24: Since the #Taliban took control of Afghanistan, flickers of resistance have begun to emerge with some ex-government troops gathering in the Panjshir, approximately 125 kilometres north of Kabul, long known as an anti-Taliban bastion…..

#AceDailyNews says militants head to Afghanistan’s anti-Taliban stronghold of Panjshir to bring it under ‘control’ as hundreds of Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate are heading towards the state of Panjshir to control it, after local state officials refused to hand it over peacefully,” the Taliban wrote on its Arabic Twitter account so who are the leaders controlling Afghanistan?

Resistance fighters in Panjshir
The NRF says it wants to pursue peaceful negotiations before fighting

Anti-Taliban resistance group says it has thousands of fighters and they are ready to fight: Ali Nazary, head of foreign relations for the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRF), told the BBC they want to pursue peaceful negotiations: But, he added, “if this fails… then we’re not going to accept any sort of aggression”: Meanwhile, the Taliban say they have surrounded the group’s Panjshir valley stronghold and put them under siege: Resistance figures have also said the Taliban are now advancing in the region, northeast of the capital Kabul.

Amrullah Saleh, who was vice-president in the government ousted by the Taliban and is now based in Panjshir, tweeted that the Taliban had massed forces near the entrance to the valley.

The Panjshir region – in particular the Panjshir Valley – is famous for having successfully fought off invasions, including from Soviet forces during the Soviet-Afghan war from 1979 to 1989, and the Taliban in the 1990s.

Now, the region is still under the control of the NRF, which was founded by Ahmad Massoud – the son of Afghan resistance hero Ahmad Shah Massoud.

ReutersAhmad Massoud, the son of resistance icon Ahmad Shah Massoud, founded the NRF

Ahmad Shah Massoud was a powerful guerrilla commander who led the resistance against the USSR, and then went on to lead the Afghan government’s military wing against rival militias in the 1990s. After the Taliban gained control, he was the main opposition commander against their rule, until his assassination in 2001.

Mr Nazary told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Panjshir had had a recent influx of local resistance forces from across the country, who have joined fighters they had already trained locally.

He said the group had “thousands of forces ready for the resistance” – although the BBC has not independently verified this claim.

“However, we prefer to pursue peace and negotiations before any sort of war and conflict,” the spokesman added.

The NRF’s ultimate goal is a decentralised form of governance in the country.”The NRF believes that for lasting peace we have to address the underlying problems in Afghanistan,” he continued. “Afghanistan is a country made up of ethnic minorities, no one is a majority. It’s a multicultural state, so it needs power sharing – a power-sharing deal where everyone sees themselves in power.”

Having one group dominating politics will lead to “internal warfare and the continuation of the current conflict,” he said.”We prefer peace, we prioritise peace and negotiations,” Mr Nazary added. “If this fails – if we see that the other side is not sincere, if we see that the other side is trying to force itself on the rest of the country – then we’re not going to accept any sort of aggression.”And we’ve proven ourselves, our track record in the past [40 years] has shown that no-one is able to conquer our region, especially the Panjshir Valley.”The Red Army, with its might, was unable to defeat us… I don’t think any force right now in Afghanistan has the might of the Red Army. And the Taliban also 25 years ago… they tried to take over the valley and they failed, they faced a crushing defeat.”

Ali Maisam Nazary, head of foreign relations for the Afghan National Resistance Front (NRF) said thousands of people have made their way to Panjshir to both join the fight and find a safe haven to continue their lives.

There, Ahmad Massoud, the son of former Afghan commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was assassinated by Al Qaeda two days before the September 11, 2001 attacks, has assembled a fighting force of around 9,000 people, Mr Nazary added.

Pictures taken by AFP during training exercises show dozens of recruits performing fitness routines, and a handful of armoured humvees driving across the valley north-east of Kabul.

Children of local Afghan residents carrying hunting rifles and a flag
Pockets of resistance have begun to emerge since the Taliban took over.(AFP: Ahmad Sahel Arman)

The NRF’s main goal is to avoid further bloodshed in Afghanistan and press for a new system of government.

But Mr Nazary said the group is also prepared for conflict, and if the Taliban do not negotiate they will face resistance across the country.

“The conditions for a peace deal with the Taliban is decentralisation — a system that ensures social justice, equality, rights, and freedom for all,” Mr Nazary said.

Talks between local leaders from Afghanistan’s north and authorities in Pakistan were taking place until just days ago, he added.

While the Taliban control the vast majority of Afghanistan, Mr Nazary optimistically highlighted reports that local militias in some districts have already begun resisting their hardline rule and have formed links with Mr Massoud’s NRF.

Afghan security forces patrol on a Humvee vehicle
The NRF says Panjshir has become a safe zone.(AFP: Ahmad Sahel Arman)

“Massoud did not give the order for these things to happen but they are all associated with us,” Mr Nazary said.

“The Taliban are overstretched. They cannot be everywhere at the same time. Their resources are limited. They do not have support amongst the majority.”

With the Taliban saying their leaders will now show themselves to the world — unlike in the past when they lived in secret — here are the key figures in the movement.

He said, however, that Mr Massoud had different views to Amrullah Saleh, latterly the country’s vice-president, who is also holed up in the valley and last week vowed to lead an uprising.

“Mr Saleh is in Panjshir. He opted to stay in the country and not flee,” Mr Nazary said, noting Mr Saleh’s strong anti-Pakistan stance was at odds with Mr Massoud who wanted good relations with Afghanistan’s Taliban-supporting neighbour.

“The aim right now is to defend Panjshir and its people.

“If there is any aggression… if anyone attacks us we will defend ourselves.”

‘Beacon of hope’

Alongside Mr Massoud’s fighting force, Panjshir now hosts more than 1,000 displaced people from across Afghanistan who have poured into the valley looking for sanctuary, Mr Nazary said.

“We are seeing Panjshir become a safe zone for all those groups who feel threatened in other provinces.”

Ahmad Massoud speaks during an interview
Ahmad Massoud is the son of Mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud who was assassinated by Al Qaeda.(Reuters: Mohammad Ismail)

He added the province has seen an influx of intellectuals, human rights activists and politicians “who feel threatened by the Taliban”.Living under the Taliban as a womanShamsiya and her four sisters were born in Afghanistan and lived under the Taliban where women were not given a voice or an education.

Mr Massoud is determined to stand by the people of the valley and take up his father’s mantle, Mr Nazary added, stressing Afghanistan needs a federated system of government to close its endless cycle of war.

“War is just a byproduct of conflict in Afghanistan. What has caused the conflict is that Afghanistan is a country made up of ethnic minorities … (and) in a multi-ethnic country you cannot have one ethnic group dominate politics and others having a presence in the margins.”

Mr Nazary said Mr Massoud’s resistance, and others across Afghanistan, are vital in making this change happen.

“Panjshir has always been a beacon of hope.”

Play Video. Duration: 8 minutes 3 seconds
The Taliban are back. What happens now?

AFP/ABC/BBC/

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Aug.24: 2021:

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