'If Taliban launch a full-scale attack on Panjshir...': What analysts say

After the anti-Taliban force claimed to have taken control over Pul-e-Hesar, Deh Salah, and Banu, all eyes are on how things unfold in Panjshir, the ground of resistance in Afghanistan.
Newly absorbed personnel in the Afghan security forces take part in military training in the Bandejoy area of Dara district in Panjshir province on August 21.(AFP)
Newly absorbed personnel in the Afghan security forces take part in military training in the Bandejoy area of Dara district in Panjshir province on August 21.(AFP)
Published on Aug 22, 2021 04:52 PM IST
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By hindustantimes.com | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

Amid reports of the anti-Taliban force gaining strength, training security forces in Panjshir province, the last Taliban-free area of Afghanistan, analysts have said that if the Taliban launch a full-scale attack, the anti-Taliban fighters will have to struggle. Though the takeover might not be without resistance as it happened in the rest of the country, the fighters gathered there will have to struggle if the Islamist hardliners launch a full-scale attack. "The resistance for the moment is just verbal because the Taliban have not yet tried to enter the Panjshir," Afghan specialist Gilles Dorronsoro from Sorbonne University in Paris told news agency AFP.

"The Taliban surround Panjshir from all sides and I don't think Massoud's son can resist much more than a couple of months. For the moment, he does not have any really strong support," Abdul Sayed, an independent researcher told AFP.

Panjshir has remained a land of resistance since the Soviet-Afghan war as Ahmad Shah Massoud, known as the Lion of Panjshir, defended the region which has a geographic advantage of being sheltered by mountainous terrain. The National Resistance Front of Afghanistan or what is being called the Second Resistance after the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban on August 15 is also taking shape centring the Panjshir valley. Ahmad Massoud, Amrullah Saleh who has declared himself the caretaker president of Afghanistan, and Bismillah Khan Mohammadi are the leaders of the new Panjshir resistance.

Afghan specialist Dorronsoro has also brought in another factor in perspective -- the difference between Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Massoud. Massoud spent years in exile in Britain and Iran, lives in the shadow of his father's legend and has little political clout and, on the other hand, Amrullah Saleh is a key power broker and has remained in power in Afghanistan for years, the AFP analysis said, quoting Dorronsoro who said, "From the start, there have been tensions between the two."

Here is what happened in Panjshir Valley since the fall of Kabul

> Former vice president Amrullah Saleh, who refused to surrender to the Taliban, reportedly left Kabul and went to Panjshir Valley.

> Panjshir resistance was announced and the flag of the Northern Alliance was hoisted in the valley.

> Ahmad Massoud sought international assistance to put up a resistance against the Taliban.

> The Panjshir resistance has claimed to have taken control over Pul-e-Hesar, Deh Salah, and Banu.

> Former prime minister Abdullah Abdullah and former president Hamid Karzai met Panjshir leaders after meeting the Taliban chiefs in Kabul. Massoud's uncles are in touch with Pakistan, AFP reported,

(With agency inputs)

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Thursday, October 21, 2021