Amrullah Saleh asks UN to step in, prevent Taliban onslaught in Panjshir

By | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi
Sep 05, 2021 01:20 PM IST

Amrullah Saleh appealed to the UN, Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements, NGOs and other charity organisations to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Panjshir and other areas. 

Amrullah Saleh, who has declared himself Afghanistan’s caretaker president and is leading resistance forces against the Taliban in Panjshir, has called on the United Nations and other international agencies to “rapidly and generously respond” to the “overwhelming humanitarian crisis” in the area. “We call on the United Nations and the international community to do its utmost to prevent the Taliban's onslaught into Panjshir province and encourage negotiate a political solution to ensure thousands of displaced and hosting civilians are saved,” Amrullah Saleh said in a letter to the UN.

Amrullah Saleh wrote a letter to the UN, seeking help against the Taliban. (AFP File Photo)
Amrullah Saleh wrote a letter to the UN, seeking help against the Taliban. (AFP File Photo)

The Taliban and opposition forces are battling to control the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul, the last Afghan province holding out against the hardline Islamist group. Saleh and Ahmad Massoud—the son of famous Afghan commander Ahmad Shah Massoud—are in Panjshir valley and trying to mount a challenge to the Taliban. Both sides have claimed they have control over Panjshir. According to Sputnik News, the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan spokesperson Fahim Dashti tweeted that about 600 Taliban have been killed in Panjshir and more than 1,000 have been captured or surrendered themselves. The Taliban, on their part, have said they are advancing.

Also watch | ‘Still in Panjshir’: Amrullah Saleh amid Taliban’s claim of taking control

The resistance forces in the country's northeastern province have said that they would continue fighting the Taliban as their negotiations did not yield any results. The Taliban captured Kabul after mounting a swift offensive in a matter of weeks and control all regions in Afghanistan except the Panjshir province.

Saleh, who recently denied reported he had left Panjshir, said that the Taliban and other foreign groups have unleashed a vicious attack against the valley and other free areas of northern Afghanistan. "Around 250,000 two hundred and fifty thousand people including local women, children, elderly and 10,000 ten thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who arrived in Panjshir after the fall Kabul and other large cities are also stuck inside these valleys and suffering from the consequences this inhuman blocked," Amrullah Saleh wrote in the letter posted on Twitter by the handle @NorthernAliance. 

Also read | 'Destroyed pics of my wife, daughters': Amrullah Saleh on how he left Kabul

People displaced by the Taliban are living in mosques, schools, health centres and in “open spaces under the naked sky”. “A humanitarian catastrophe is unfortunately in the making as these IDPs have no means of survival and are at risk of hunger and increasing spike of malnutrition. They are in dire need of basic relief for their immediate survival,” he added.

HT could not verify the authenticity of the letter. 

On Sunday, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) said the Afghanistan situation is a "humanitarian emergency of internal displacement". "More than half a million Afghan civilians have already been displaced. The full impact of the evolving political situation isn't clear. What is clear is that we are witnessing large scale displacement amid what is now a humanitarian emergency of internal displacement," the UNHRC tweeted.

Also read | Haqqani and Baradar fight it out for power in Kabul

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that he will convene a high-level humanitarian conference for Afghanistan on September 13. "Now more than ever, Afghan children, women & men need support & solidarity from the international community. I will convene a high-level humanitarian conference for Afghanistan on 13 September to advocate for a swift scale-up in funding & full, unimpeded access to those in need," Guterres tweeted.

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