January 1, 2022
Afghan resistance leaders and their supporters appear confident that both military and political efforts to counter the Taliban will eventually spread nationwide amid growing human rights abuses against women and minorities.
Amrullah Saleh, who declared himself the “Acting President” of Afghanistan amid the fall of Kabul, has been resolute, vowing to continue pushing back against the Taliban as well as the movement’s primary sponsor.
“I fought them [Taliban] with pride… and will continue to fight them until Afgh is home to all Afghans,” Saleh said in a tweet on December 30. “Afg is too big to be swallowed by Pak.”
The former Afghan vice president appeared to dismiss options other than confrontation, warning that the solution “is not nostalgic interviews or publishing diaries.”
Saleh’s tone, however, was not entirely combative as he expressed some hope that the Taliban would join an inclusive government.
“It is a new beginning,” Saleh added. “Talibs don’t own Afg… [but] they can be part of it.”
The Taliban have even confirmed that the resistance has been active in the region including with respect to responding to injustices with force.
Abdul Hamid Khorasani, security chief of the Taliban Police Command for Panjshir province, told Hasht-e Subh earlier in the week that an armed clashed began after Taliban forces “shot and killed an innocent young man in the Anaba district.”
The residents of Anaba district in the wake of the young man’s death started protesting, the report added.
Head of Foreign Relations for the National Resistance Front (NRF) of Afghanistan, Ali Maisam Nazary, posted a clip of protesters he said were resisting the Taliban “oppressors.”
“They are chanting long live @AhmadMassoud01 & NRF,” he said in a tweet on December 26. “They are starting a peaceful uprising while their brothers in arms are resisting from the side valleys.”
In an interview the following day, Nazary said the resistance aims to free Afghanistan from the “terrorism and oppression” under the Taliban.
“We are growing and spreading throughout the country, especially in the northern parts,” Nazary told Sputnik.
In September, Nazary accused the Pashtun-majority Taliban of ethnic cleansing and called on the international community to stop the movement’s alleged war crimes.
In an interview published on December 28, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Tajikistan Muhammad Zahir Agbar told Sputnik that resistance forces exist not just in the Panjshir province, but also in Kandahar and in the Andarab region of the Baghlan province.
The envoy also said Saleh and the resistance forces have enough weaponry to continue the fighting. He said they are in constant communication with Saleh and resistance leader Ahmad Massoud.
“The Panjshir is waging hostilities – it does not surrender,” Agbar said. “As for military assistance, I want to say that we still have enough strength, military equipment and weapons for our resistance in Panjshir.”
The people in the region, he noted, recently were seen protesting and shouting: “Down with the Taliban!”
“I am sure that very soon the whole country will stand up against the Taliban, and it will be not only political and military resistance, but the all-people resistance from all parts of the society,” Agbar said.
Agbar, in addition, indicated that the resistance is seeking political support from neighboring states such as Tajikistan, among others.
He noted that Saleh even met with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon recently in Dushanbe. The diplomat acknowledged, however, that he lacked “accurate information” about said meeting.
The government of Tajikistan has been concerned about the instability in Afghanistan spilling across borders, and has even welcomed defensive arms from Russia.
Agbar, in underscoring the threat, claimed the Taliban are granting Afghan passports to members of al-Qaeda and ISIS.
Fahim Fetrat, a former Afghan parliament adviser, in September said the resistance forces in Panjshir within their arsenal have heavy weaponry – including a Soviet truck-mounted 122 mm multiple rocket launcher and the T62 tank. When the US forces tried to confiscate those heavy weapons in 2005, local forces refused to comply, he added.
In terms of trying to garner external support, the NRF has registered as an official foreign lobbying group in the United States, with Nazary listed as the foreign principal, Massoud as leader, and Yusif Nazir as treasurer.
The group – based in Torrance, California – plans on launching a campaign to drum up support via ads, social media, lectures, and press releases, according to the document. In addition, they plan to meet with U.S. government officials, legislators, civic groups, and news organizations.
The Biden administration, however, has so far refused to entertain demands by some U.S. lawmakers to recognize the NRF as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.
The Taliban, for their part, have said any U.S. support for the NRF would constitute a breach of the 2020 Doha agreement.