Panjshir Resistance challenges unhindered Taliban
Even a week after the takeover of Afghanistan, this country features at the top of discussions on geopolitics in the mainstream media, social media and people worldwide. The pace at which Taliban overwhelmed Afghan forces has left ordinary people shocked. However, after a swift victory Taliban is now facing some hardened resistance.
Women demonstrations and flag marches
Immediately after Taliban takeover of capital Kabul, local women held demonstrations denouncing Taliban roguery. Moreover, several locals took out unarmed flag marches to display a united spirit in the face of Taliban savagery. However, these unarmed protests have encouraged stiff resistance in Panjshir. It is that area of Afghanistan which Taliban has never been able to control right since their rule in 1996. Not just Taliban, even the British, USSR or Americans have never subdued Panjshir.
Panjshir Valley is a region just 3 hours drive from Kabul. Curiously, it is the only one of 34 districts in Afghanistan currently not under Taliban control. Panjshir is the stronghold of Ahmad Massoud, son of legendary Ahmad Shah Massoud, who, even during the Taliban regime of the 90s, had not bowed down to them. Ahmad Massoud has warned that a civil war in Afghanistan is inevitable if Taliban refuse talks and proposed a power-sharing arrangement.
Former Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh has reached Panjshir and joined forces with Massoud. Saleh has also declared himself as the Acting President of Afghanistan after President Ashraf Ghani fled to the UAE.
Northern Alliance power
Massoud-Saleh, together now called the Northern Alliance, are believed to have at least 9,000 battle-hardened fighters with them. They have even killed over 300 Taliban terrorists a day before. Recently, they reportedly received helicopter gunships from Tajikistan. Moreover, claims have emerged about the resistance forces having retaken Pul-i-Hesar, Bano and Deh Bala areas from Taliban.
Dostums and Hazaras
Yar Mohammad Dostum, the son of influential warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, too has joined the Panjshir resistance. Besides, there are reports that the Hazara resistance forces have defeated Taliban and retaken control of Behsud town.
Apart from the homegrown military resistance, Taliban faces a steep challenge of shortage of funds as more countries, including the United States, are now forced to impose economic sanctions on Taliban’s Afghanistan.
Overall, the swift run that Taliban enjoyed while taking over Afghanistan is now facing formidable challenges. However, success of the challengers, the Northern Alliance, depends on the extent of assistance they receive from world powers.