Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley: Last stronghold against the Taliban.


The holeout includes anti-Taliban militia fighters and former Afghan security forces, who have vowed to resist the AFP group.

Panjshir Valley: The Panjshir Valley is the most important of the many other strongholds against the Taliban since the occupation of Afghanistan.

Consisting of anti-Taliban militia fighters and former Afghan security forces, they vowed to resist because the Taliban send fighters to encircle the area.

Both sides have said they want to resolve the dispute through negotiations, but no progress has been made on the fate of the strategic area.

Why is Panjshir Valley important?

Panjshir is a narrow valley deep in the Hindu Kush mountains, with its southern tip about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the capital Kabul.

The valley has limited access points and its geography offers a natural military advantage – defense units can use high positions to effectively target invading forces.

It also has immense symbolic significance in Afghanistan, as the region has been resisting invaders for more than a century.

Resistance from the valley – inhabited mainly by ethnic Tajiks – greatly shaped Afghanistan’s political and security landscape during the 1980s and 1990s.

Who strengthened this reputation?

The most respected figure in Panjshir is Ahmad Shah Masood, a guerrilla commander whose face is on the walls not only in the valley but in many cities in Afghanistan.

Known as the “Lion of Panjshir”, Masood named Mujahideen fighters against the Soviet army in the 1980s.

Afghanistan’s Ahmad Masood says he will not hand over Panjshir to the Taliban after four hours.

The Soviet Union launched several campaigns with thousands of troops, attack helicopters and tanks, but failed to defeat Massoud after some bloody battles in the conflict.

He repeated this feat in the late 1990s, when the Taliban took over most of Afghanistan.

The Taliban were unable to capture Panjshir, and Massoud’s forces inflicted the heaviest damage on their battlefield at the time.

In 2001, two days before 9/11, Massoud was assassinated by an al-Qaeda-linked assassin – a Taliban ally.

Pretending to be a documentary filmmaker, he sat down to interview her before the explosives hidden in his camera and battery pouch.

Who is in resistance now?

Today’s anti-Taliban fighters include members of the local militia as well as former members of the security forces who came to the valley as soon as the rest of Afghanistan fell.

They brought with them equipment, vehicles and weapons to replenish the stockpile of arms and ammunition created by the National Resistance Front (NRF).

The NRF leader is Ahmed Masood, the son of the famous Panjshir commander.

The group has vowed to resist any Taliban attack, but in an article in the Washington Post, Ahmed Massoud said he would need foreign help to fight the Taliban effectively.

Former Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh is also in the Panjshir Valley and has been seen talking to Massoud in photos posted on social media.

What is the reaction of the Taliban?

The Taliban have sent hundreds of fighters to areas around Panjshir, apparently in an attempt to encircle and force them to surrender.

Despite the escalating situation, Taliban spokesmen have said they would prefer to resolve the situation peacefully.

The NRF has said it is ready to negotiate with the Taliban on a comprehensive government, and Panjshir Valley elders have reportedly spoken to Taliban officials.

However, no progress has been made.

The Taliban have said they occupy at least three areas around Panjshir, and former VP Saleh tweeted that a humanitarian crisis was brewing as food and fuel supplies were cut off.

Although the NRF is determined to counter any attack, it is unclear whether it has the food, supplies and ammunition to withstand the long siege.

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