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The Resistance

In the summer of 2021 the Afghan security forces and the Afghan government folded. Many of the powerbrokers and warlords - Abdullah Abdullah, Ismail Khan, and others reached an accomodation with the Taliiban. Some fled north (Dostum and Atta Noor) to the Central Asian states. A few decided to continue the resistance to the Taliban and moved to the Panjshir valley in northeast Afghanistan.

Panjshir Province Falls to Taliban. After the taking of Kabul by the Taliban the militant group turned its attention to the Panjshir province. A large number of of resistance fighters and former ANDSF members were holed up there fighting off a Taliban offensive. The National Resistance Front (NRF) held the territory and was putting up fierce resistance in early September 2021. Eventually the Taliban captured the main road into the valley and the resistance was all but defeated in the Panjshir Valley by September 6, 2021.

Leadership of the Resistance. The leaders of the Panjshir Valley resistance forces, Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh, left by helicopter for Tajikistan and are probably based in Dushanbe. Amrullah Saleh was the First Vice President of Afghanistan and when President Ghani left Saleh became the acting president by default.

A Government in Exile? There is speculation that Atta Noor, Dostum, Salahuddin Rabbin, and Mohammad Mohaqiq will form an umbrella organization to support the resistance fighters. However, they are lacking the support of key nations - Iran and Turkey. Former Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Massoud are in Tajikistan and may try and form a government in exile there. Ahmad Massoud is the son of the famed resistance leader during the first Taliban regime.

And the Former President Ghani? He is in the United Arab Emirates along with his former National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib and others. Nothing from him about a government in exile.

Aid From the West? It is unlikely that the Afghan resistance is receiving any aid from Western governments. The political apetite is not there for a continued involvement in the Afghan conflict. There are some members of Congress advocating support for the Afghan resistance but not enough to pressure the Biden administration to take action or to generate enough support that a "Charlie Wilson" can push through a covert action support plan. Perhaps Representative Mike Waltz will be the next Charlie Wilson. Waltz is a frequent guest on Fox News where he can sway the discussion on support to a resistance movement. In addition, he is a member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations. With his Green Beret background and two combat tours in Afghanistan he can be a force of influence behind closed doors in the halls of Congress.


News Reports About the Resistance

October 8, 2021. "In Afghanistan, a Resistance Arises", The Heritage Foundation.

September 24, 2021. "Afghan Resistance Mulls Formation of Government in Exile", by Lynne O'Donnell, Foreign Affairs. Fighters, politicians, and generals may try to copy the Taliban's playbook for Afghanistan.

September 21, 2021. "Afghan Resistance Leaders, Long Backed by CIA, Have Fled Following Taliban Takeover", The Intercept. The leaders of the Afghan resistance to the Taliban have fled to Tajikistan.

September 3, 2021. "The Afghan Resistance Says Reports of its Defeat in Panjshir are Taliban Propaganda", National Public Radio.

September 2, 2021. "Taliban and Afghan rebels claim heavy casualties in fighting over valley", Reuters.

August 21, 2021. "An Anti-Taliban Front Is Already Forming. Can It Last?", Lobo Institute.

 

 


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