Clicky

Shipping News and Reviews

Afghans protest after the Taliban claim they put down the Panjshir resistance

Thousands of people, including many women, took to the streets in Kabul and other cities across Afghanistan on Tuesday after the leader of an anti-Taliban resistance movement called for a rise against the country's new extremist rulers, which claimed a day earlier for extinguishing the last organized resistance in the Panjshir Valley.

The masses marched through the center of the capital to the chants of "Freedom" and "Death to the Taliban" until armed Taliban fired automatic weapons to disperse the crowd. Video footage recorded by protesters showed uniformed men beating women and people running from being shot. A protester said some people were injured by falling bullets. Another protester, who spoke on condition not to be identified, said he was beaten by armed Taliban who confiscated cameras from people in the crowd and said some militants had filmed the protesters.

The protests followed news that the Taliban, reportedly backed by Pakistan, overran the Panjshir Valley and hoisted their white flag over the provincial governor's office on Monday. Some of the protesters in Kabul condemned the Taliban's action in Panjshir and waved signs that read "Nobody has the right to invade Panjshir, not Pakistan, not the Taliban," witnesses said. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the media on Monday that the war was over and the Panjshir "completely under the control of the Islamic emirate," as the Taliban renamed the country.

Thousands of people, including many women, took to the streets in Kabul and other cities across Afghanistan on Tuesday after the leader of an anti-Taliban resistance movement called for a rise against the country's new extremist rulers, which claimed a day earlier for extinguishing the last organized resistance in the Panjshir Valley.

The masses marched through the center of the capital to the chants of "Freedom" and "Death to the Taliban" until armed Taliban fired automatic weapons to disperse the crowd. Video footage recorded by protesters showed uniformed men beating women and people running from being shot. A protester said some people were injured by falling bullets. Another protester, who spoke on condition not to be identified, said he was beaten by armed Taliban who confiscated cameras from people in the crowd and said some militants had filmed the protesters.

The protests followed news that the Taliban, reportedly backed by Pakistan, overran the Panjshir Valley and hoisted their white flag over the provincial governor's office on Monday. Some of the protesters in Kabul condemned the Taliban's action in Panjshir and waved signs that read "Nobody has the right to invade Panjshir, not Pakistan, not the Taliban," witnesses said. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the media on Monday that the war was over and the Panjshir "completely under the control of the Islamic emirate," as the Taliban renamed the country.

But the National Resistance Front, stationed in Panjshir and claiming support across the country, said it had not been defeated and would continue the fight. In response to the Taliban's claim to victory, Ahmad Massoud, leader of the National Resistance Front, called on Monday for a nationwide uprising against a "crippling humiliation" imposed on Afghanistan by the Taliban and "foreigners" on the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency.

A spokesman for the National Resistance Front denied reports that Massoud and his resistance leader, the former Afghan vice president, Amrullah Saleh, had been forced into exile; her whereabouts are unknown. Despite the Taliban's advances in the valley, the resistance group denied that the insurgents had taken control of the entire province.

"The Taliban have taken over the provincial center," said Ali Maisam Nazary, spokesman for the National Resistance Front. But the resistance still controls many villages and occupies the side valleys of the main north-south valley in Panjshir, he said.

“That gives us a huge advantage. The Taliban will never be able to penetrate the side valleys, ”he said. “The Soviets tried and failed [during their 1979-1989 occupation]. Our strategy will continue until we have achieved justice and freedom for all Afghans. "

Michael Clarke, a distinguished fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said the Taliban appear to have "the ability to move up and down the valley from north to south, but not into the lower valleys," refuting their claim of full control. But the group has other benefits, including an equipment head start, as well as likely access to Pakistani intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information, he said.

"We can assume that the Taliban have some degree of control, but if there is a will to resist it will make a difference," said Clarke. However, after 40 years of war, the people of the Panjshir Valley are tired and may have little appetite for further resistance at that point, he said.

Massoud, the leader of the National Resistance Front, said in a speech to supporters that the Taliban's attack on Panjshir was a foretaste of Afghanistan's future.

“This image will consist of a backward Afghanistan, permeated with obscurantism, without civilization and art, without unity and solidarity, and a country that is forced into economic and political isolation. A country that is being brought under overwhelming control, which will have no independent relations with the world, whose lives will be monitored by foreigners, ”read a transcript of the speech Foreign policy quoted Massoud.

"Military pressure on us and our territory will in no way diminish our determination to continue our struggle, but only strengthen our determination to defend our dignity, freedom and the triumph of our people until the last moment," he said.

Nazary, spokesman for the National Resistance Front, said resistance had been heightened by members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces trained and armed by the United States, many of whom deserted during the fighting against the Taliban this summer. Although the Taliban captured huge stocks of US-made vehicles and weapons, Nazary said the militants would have a hard time maintaining equipment and vowed to continue the fight.

“The nature of resistance will turn into an irregular war. It might take more time. We will go on and persevere, we have resilience to act against these forces of evil and aggression, ”Nazary said of the Taliban.

The Taliban have been encircling the valley for at least a week after failed talks with leaders of the National Resistance Front to join the Taliban government, which have yet to be announced. Nazary said his group had called for an "inclusive government" that would incorporate all ethnic, religious and regional interests into a federal system. But he and other sources inside and outside the country said the Taliban were unwilling or unable to understand inclusivity beyond offering benefices to former ethnic leaders or regional warlords.

Afghanistan has now plunged into a humanitarian crisis since the Taliban captured Kabul on August 15. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced by the fighting. The severe drought has created food insecurity, which was exacerbated by the Taliban border closings, which halted food and fuel imports and increased inflation. Economic activity has almost come to a standstill, banks, stores and shops have closed, and international aid, which provided the bulk of Afghan government revenue, suddenly stopped.

Many people associated with the former government live in fear of retaliation as the house-to-house searches continue. Women who have protested for their constitutional rights in recent days have been beaten and many have already been forced to quit their jobs and stay at home, echoing the misogynistic practices of the previous Taliban regime.

"The substance of the Taliban ideology has not changed by any percentage point since it first came to power in Afghanistan in 1996," said an advisor to a former warlord on condition of anonymity. "But they will do everything to get international recognition and then they will implement their ideology."

Comments are closed.