While the whole world claims that the war in Afghanistan has come to an end after the withdrawal of the US military, there is one last holdout where the Taliban does not have authority. Will it stay that way?
Since Ashraf Ghani, the President of Afghanistan, was forced to suddenly flee his country, Afghanistan has been almost entirely reconquered by the Taliban. The last area which has remained untouched is the so called Panjshir Valley, which can be found in the north-central part of Afghanistan approximately 150 km north of Kabul. Over the past weeks, the Taliban has led a campaign to reconquer the country which has progressed at a staggering speed, forcing the former President to flee first to neighboring Tajikistan and then to the UAE. But one powerful politician did not flee and is still holding the Panjshir Valley in his hands while fighting against the Taliban’s forces with all arms and manpower available to him. His name is Amrulla Saleh, and as the recognized Vice President of the Ghani Government, he claims to be the new legitimate President of Afghanistan.
Amrulla Saleh is not the only one who is still fighting tooth and nail to save his country from total collapse. He has teamed up with Ahmed Masud, who is the son of the popular freedom fighter Ahmed Sah Masud. In recent weeks, their armed force became larger when some of the Afghan military groups joined them after the fall of Kabul. The Panjshir Valley is a 120 km long territory, which is inhabited by around 100.000 ethnic Tajiks. This valley is known for being very difficult to take over. Saleh and his allies call themselves the “Afghan National Resistance Front” and claim to be the last defender of the Afghan people and the West. In Masud’s recent letter to the Washington Post, he argues that if someone fights for the freedom of Afghanistan, then that someone is also fighting for the freedom of Western civilisation. This fact has especially proven to be true in this instance.
From Masud’s report, we can say that the resistance is well enough equipped to hold its stance against the Taliban for a short period of time. To keep this area safe, Ahmed calls for aid from Western countries, so that he can defend the Panjshir Valley successfully. Moreover, he adds that “the Taliban is not only Afghanistan’s problem. Afghanistan under the Talib authority will be the future starting point of radical Islamic terrorism. Conspiracies against democracies will be planned here”. If there is a hope for Afghanistan, then it is in the hands of Amrulla Saleh and Ahmed Masud, but without any outside help, their cause might fall, like it did in most parts of Afghanistan.