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The leader of the resistance group in the Afghan Pandjir Valley, Massoud, has called for a national uprising against the Taliban. An audio message from him was published on the Internet. The Taliban announced earlier this morning that they had conquered the Punjir Valley - and with it the last Afghan province.
Massoud said in his video message that people should fight in every possible form. It's about home, honor, freedom and pride, said the militia chief.
It is unclear whether the Taliban actually took control of the Punjir province. Massud's National Resistance Front (NRF) contradicted this representation. The movement wrote on Twitter that it was still present in strategically important positions in Punjir and that the fight was going on. However, in photos and videos that were shared on social networks, Taliban fighters posed heavily armed in front of the governor's headquarters in Basarak.
Pandjir was the only province in Afghanistan that the Taliban had not brought under their control during their conquest in August. Opponents of the Taliban gathered around Massoud and the former Afghan Vice President Saleh, who had declared himself the rightful head of state after President Ghani had fled. Massud is the son of the legendary deceased Northern Alliance leader Akhmed Shah Massud, who organized the resistance against the Taliban in the 1990s. More on this .
If you look at the Pandjir Valley from a satellite perspective, you will quickly see why many potential conquerors have failed there so far: From the capital Kabul it is about 100 kilometers to the entrance of the valley, only a narrow road leads into it. The valley itself is surrounded by mountain peaks up to 3,000 meters high. A river runs parallel to the only road, and above it there are many ledges or other hiding spots where defenders can take cover.
Even the Soviet troops that invaded Afghanistan at the end of 1979 were unable to gain a foothold in the region - and the Taliban also failed here during their first rule from 1996 to 2001. The valley and the approximately 150,000 people who live there stayed during the independent for a full five years.
A valley with high symbolic power and a national hero
During this time the high symbolic power arose that still accompanies the disintegration around the valley. The leader of the Northern Alliance, Ahmed Shah Massud, is still legendary today. He was the most important leader in the war against the Soviet Union and led the fighters in the war against the Taliban from 1996 onwards. He died in a suicide attack in 2001 and is now one of the national heroes of Afghanistan. It is therefore no coincidence that his son Ahmad Massud is leading the current resistance against the Taliban in the Punjir Valley.
Current developments are also being followed with great interest from other regions of the country. Even if it looks different from the outside, the Taliban are not the unrestricted rulers of Aghanistan. Many regional princes claim to be involved in government; Akhmad Massud also pushed for it.
Other regional rulers want to participate in government
A few days ago a group of other Afghan leaders spoke up. Its spokesman is Chalid Nur, the son of Atta Mohammad Nur, the once powerful governor of the northern Afghan province of Balkh. He told Reuters news agency it was important that traditional leaders in particular be involved in government formation. The 27-year-old also warned of the failure of negotiations with the Taliban. Then the group would prepare for armed resistance. Surrender is out of the question for them.
Observers fear that further developments could even mark the beginning of a civil war in Afghanistan. The Chairman of the General Staff of the US Armed Forces, General Milley has already warned against this. In an interview, Milley said he did not know whether the Taliban would be able to consolidate their power.
This message was broadcast on September 6th, 2021 on Deutschlandfunk.