Panjshir: The Last Citadel of Resistance in Afghanistan

Situated at the north of Kabul, Panjshir valley is a north eastern province in Afghanistan. it is approximately one hundred and fifty kilometres away from the northeast side of Kabul.

Following the takeover of the country by the Taliban, Panjshir has become a symbol of resistance. Moreover, this place has never been under the control of the Taliban.

The valley is currently giving shelter to many Afghan civilians and government officials of the fallen government of Afghanistan. The President, Ashraf Ghani has fled the country.

Now the vice president before the Taliban takeover, Amrullah Saleh has declared himself as the acting President or the care taker President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. He has cited the constitution of Afghanistan in a tweet after Ghani escaped from the country.

Saleh tweeted, ‘Clarity: As per d constitution of Afg, in absence, escape, resignation or death of the President the FVP becomes the caretaker President. I am currently inside my country & am the legitimate care taker President. Am reaching out to all leaders to secure their support & consensus.’

A media report suggests that Saleh has also given an audio message, in which he is saying that, “As per the constitution of Afghanistan, if the President is absent or he resigns and he becomes incapable of running his duties, the First Vice President automatically becomes the legitimate caretaker President.

Since President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country, he has effectively left his responsibilities and position vacant, and I am currently the legitimate caretaker President of Afghanistan because i am inside the country.”

The Citadel of Resistance: Panjshir

The political leader and the acting President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Amrullah Saleh is reaching out to the other leaders both regional and national.

He says, “I want to make it very clear that there are many factors why this situation happened. I am not ready to be part of the humiliation and shame that the foreign militaries have endured. I am standing up for my country and the war is not over.”

Panjshir is the only province that does not have a history of being under the influence of the Taliban, not at present and during their rule in the 1990s. It also remained independent from the Soviets in the 1980s.

Currently, the popular faces of the resistance against the Taliban include the leader of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, Ahmad Massoud; former defence minister Bismillah Mohammadi and the acting President, Amrullah Saleh.

Ahmad Massoud is the son of revolutionary leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, who stood against the Soviet troops in the 1980s. He was later assassinated by Al Qaeda suicide bombers on 9th September 2001.

Amrullah Saleh tweeted, “I will never, ever & under no circumstances bow to d Talib terrorists. I will never betray d soul & legacy of my hero Ahmad Shah Masoud, the commander, the legend & the guide. I won’t disappoint millions who listened to me. I will never be under one ceiling with the Taliban. NEVER.”

Saleh and Ahmad Massoud are firm in their resolve. Massoud in a conversation with Reuters through telephone says, “We want to make the Taliban realise that the only way forward is through negotiation. We do not want a war to break out.”

The Road Ahead

The resistant forces in Panjshir are ready to combat the threat of the Taliban militants. Amrullah Saleh also pointed at this in a post where he writes-

‘Talibs have massed forces near the entrance of Panjshir a day after they got trapped in ambush zones of neighbouring Andarab valley & hardly went out in one piece. Meanwhile, Salang highway is closed by the forces of the Resistance. “There are terrains to be avoided”. See you.’

Thus, Panjshir stands bravely as the last citadel of resistance in Afghanistan. The Taliban has already announced that it has sent ‘hundreds of soldiers’ in the Panjshir valley.

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