POLITICS

Afghan Prez Amrullah Saleh warns Taliban against entering Panjshir after Andarab clash

Mocking the Taliban, Afghanistan’s ‘caretaker’ President Amrullah Saleh on Sunday, warned the Taliban to avoid entering Panjshir province as it was guarded by the National Resistance Front – led by Ahmad Massoud. Reminding the terror group of its casualties in Andarab Valley, a day ago, Saleh irked the Taliban saying ‘some terrains are to be avoided’. Saleh, who was Ashraf Ghani’s vice-president, is currently in Panjshir province where an anti-Taliban force is building.  

Saleh: ‘Some terrains are to be avoided’

Talibs have massed forces near the entrance of Panjshir a day after they got trapped in ambush zones of neighboring 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.

— Amrullah Saleh (@AmrullahSaleh2) August 22, 2021

Earlier in the day, a massive battle broke out in  Andarab – a southern district in the Baghlan province of Afghanistan between the Taliban and the National Resistance Front after it took over Banu, Pol-e-Hesar, and De Salah from Taliban’s control. As per sources, Andarab locals had ambushed the Taliban which has abducted several children, and women in a bid to coerce the men into joining them. Later, Taliban issued an ultimatum of four hours to the Massoud-led group to surrender and let Taliban take over Panjshir – the last remaining province in Afghanistan not under Taliban’s control. Ahmad Massoud, the 32-year-old son of the ‘Lion of Panjshir’ Ahmad Shah Massoud who had successfully resisted Soviet occupation in 1979, is leading the anti-Taliban forces.

“If they surrender within the stipulated time, everything will be fine. Otherwise, we will punish,” warned the Taliban while sharing a video in which it can be seen moving towards Panjshir. In retaliation, Massoud has made it clear that he and his force do not have the word ‘surrender’ in their vocabulary.

“If anyone by any name would want to attack our homes, our land, and our freedom, just like the National Hero-Ahmad Shah Massoud and other Mujahedeen, we as well are ready to give away our lives and die but will not give away our land and our dignity,” Massoud had said.

Taliban Takeover

The Taliban took over Kabul on August 15 after major cities like Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, Jalalabad and Lashkar Gah fell without resistance as US troops retreat after 20 years from war-torn Afghanistan. The hasty withdrawal of the US troops saw thousands of people attempting to flee from Afghanistan with several clinging to a departing US plane’s wheels, leading to them falling to their deaths. With the US troops taking over the Kabul airport, US President Joe Biden has defended the troops’ withdrawal, blaming Afghan govt and troops of not putting up a fight. While ex-President Ashraf Ghani has fled to UAE, his vice-president – Amrullah Saleh has annointed himself as ‘legitimate caretaker President’ of Afghanistan and is reportedly in the Panjshir province, allegedly cobbling up a resistance against the Taliban. The Taliban is now in talks with ex-Presidents Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah for a ‘peaceful power transition’. Evacuation of Afghans and other nationals is underway from Kabul airport which is under US troops’ control.

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