Of their second coming, the Taliban appeared to pay attention to the challenges that might emanate from the north
At no level in Afghanistan’s multi-directional civil conflict that began within the Nineteen Seventies, was Panjshir taken over by forces that had been hostile in the direction of the native guerrillas. It’s from the Valley, ringed by the Panjshir mountains within the north and the Kuhestan mountains within the south, Ahmad Shah Massoud, the famend Tajik commander who was assassinated by al-Qaeda two days previous to the 9/11 assaults, resisted the Soviets and later the Taliban.
Within the Eighties, the Soviets made a number of inroads to the Valley, however they couldn’t maintain it within the face of repeated assaults by Massoud’s guerrillas. Within the Nineties when the Taliban had been in energy, they had been stored on the foothills of Panjshir by the Northern Alliance. However now, three weeks after the Taliban recaptured Kabul, the Islamists have claimed that they’re in whole management of Panjshir, for the primary time.
When Kabul fell on August 15, the First Vice President, Amrullah Saleh, a Panjshiri himself, retreated to the Valley the place he joined arms with Ahmad Massoud, the 32-year-old son of Ahmed Shah Massoud. Their Nationwide Resistance Entrance (NRF) of Afghanistan vowed to proceed combating in opposition to the Taliban, reliving the reminiscences of the previous. However this time, the percentages had been in opposition to the resistance from the very starting.
Resistance up to now
Within the Nineteen Seventies, when Afghanistan turned a republic, Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was a member of the Muslim Youth, the coed wing of the Jamiat-e Islami, began an rebellion in Panjshir in opposition to President Daoud Khan with assist from the Pakistani intelligence. When Khan put down the revolt, Massoud fled to Pakistan. However he would return to Panjshir after the communists took over Kabul in 1978 by means of the ‘Saur Revolution’.
Within the Panjshir Valley, actually the valley of 5 lions, Massoud constructed a guerrilla resistance in opposition to the communists. After the Soviets got here to Afghanistan in 1979, Panjshir emerged the hotbed of anti-communists, with assist coming from the U.S., Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Throughout these days, a lot of the countryside was taken over by the Mujahideen. Inside just a few years of the Soviet intervention, the Mujahideen fighters had established their presence throughout Afghanistan’s all provinces. So U.S.-supplied help stored coming to Panjshir from Pakistan, which allowed Massoud to carry out in opposition to the Pink Military.
In 1996 when the Taliban took energy in Kabul, Massoud, who was the Defence Minister of the post-communist Mujahideen authorities (1992-96), retreated to Panjshir together with President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was his mentor from the anti-Soviet days. They fashioned the Northern Alliance, a broad coalition of anti-Taliban warlords, who established their management in northern Afghanistan, together with Panjshir Valley and Badakhshan and Takhar provinces.
Badakhshan shares an extended border with neighbouring nations Tajikistan, China and Pakistan. The Northern Alliance had direct entry to Tajikistan and thereby Central Asia by means of the border crossings, which allowed them to maintain the resistance in opposition to the Taliban. The Northern Alliance additionally obtained assist from different regional gamers, primarily India, Russia and Iran. In 2001, when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan after the 9/11 assaults, northern Afghanistan turned the staging floor and the Northern Alliance fought with the People to topple the Taliban regime.
Of their second coming, the Taliban appeared to pay attention to the challenges that might emanate from the north. On Could 1, the day the remaining U.S.-led worldwide troops began withdrawing as a part of President Joe Biden’s plan, the Taliban launched a brand new offensive concentrating on northern provinces of Afghanistan. They took districts by districts, lastly taking up Badakhshan province, together with the crossings with Tajikistan. The Taliban didn’t assault Panjshir, however seized all provinces round Panjshir, together with areas that had been a part of the Northern Alliance’s stronghold. So by the point provincial capitals began falling on August 6, Panjshir had already turn into an island surrounded by the Taliban with no direct entry by land to Tajikistan.
Secondly, the Taliban had began a appeal offensive to win over Afghanistan’s neighbours, who had backed anti-Taliban forces up to now, way back. The Taliban delegation had visited Moscow many occasions beginning in 2018. Mullah Mansour, the previous Taliban chief, was killed in a U.S. strike in 2015 when he was travelling from Iran to Pakistan, suggesting that Tehran had additionally established contacts with the Taliban management.
China was one of many first nations that declared a willingness to work with the Taliban after the autumn of Kabul. What the Taliban did in all these instances was to show their largest weak spot — ties with transnational terrorist organisations — into a chance. They promised Iran, Russia and China that they might not host or help terrorist teams which can be against these nations’ pursuits. In return, the Taliban need these nations to not assist any resistance forces inside Afghanistan.
Fall of Panjshir
So when Mr. Saleh and Mr. Massoud Jr. began resistance in opposition to the Taliban from an remoted Panjshir after the autumn of Kabul, they had been on their very own. They neither had any direct entry to a pleasant border (say, Tajikistan) nor direct navy help from regional gamers equivalent to Russia, Iran or Tajikistan. They nonetheless referred to as for resistance, maybe to extract concessions from the Taliban earlier than the brand new authorities was fashioned. The Taliban held talks with Panjshir representatives however didn’t make any concessions. The Taliban needed a complete give up. Instantly after the U.S. troops had been overseas on August 31, the Taliban launched the Panjshir offensive aimed toward taking up the Valley.
The Taliban now declare that they’ve the management of your complete Panjshir province. Their supporters have posted photographs of the Taliban’s white flag raised on the provincial headquarters at Bazarak, Panjshir’s capital. However the NRF says their guerrillas are within the strategic places and that the struggle is just not over, whereas the whereabouts of Mr. Saleh and Mr. Massoud Jr. Are unknown. It’s probably the NRF has retreated to the mountains, permitting the Taliban to take over the provincial capital and the principle artery to the Valley.
However any NRF plan to regroup and counter-attack the Taliban would rely upon regional assist, which might, in flip, rely upon whether or not the Taliban may set up a steady authorities in Afghanistan and whether or not they may preserve the guarantees they made to regional powers.