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Why Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley remains out of Taliban reach

The mountainous area has an illustrious historical past of by no means being captured by an out of doors power, might it’s the Soviets within the Eighties or the rebel group within the Nineties

The stage for Afghanistan’s battle is all set to be performed out within the Panjshir Valley — simply 113 kilometres to the north of Kabul — with the Taliban sending tons of of its fighters to the area, which has turn out to be the bastion of resistance in opposition to the rebel group.

“Lots of of Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate are heading in direction of the state of Panjshir to manage it after native state officers refused handy it over peacefully,” conveyed the Taliban by way of their Arabic Twitter account on Sunday.

The mountain area now hosts deposed Afghanistan vice-president Amrullah Saleh, who had earlier declared himself to be a “care-taker president” and insurgent commander Ahmad Massoud.

Actually, Ahmad Massoud, son of the legendary mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, wrote in The Washington Put up on 19 August, “I write from the Panjshir Valley at present, able to observe in my father’s footsteps, with mujahideen fighters who’re ready to as soon as once more tackle the Taliban.

“We’ve shops of ammunition and arms that we’ve patiently collected since my father’s time, as a result of we knew at the present time may come.”

What will we find out about this resistance stronghold and why is it thought-about to be a thorn for the Taliban?

The historical past of Panjshir Valley

Dwelling to the nation’s largest ethnic Tajik inhabitants, the 100,000 or so inhabitants who populate the valley are well-known for being tenacious underdogs.

Within the nineteenth century, the area was untouched by the British Empire as they tried to beat Afghanistan.

Panjshir Valley, which additionally means the ‘5 lions’, additionally proved to be a formidable place for the Soviets to beat throughout their occupation of the nation within the Eighties.

Throughout this time, the invading Russians encountered fierce fighters from the then resistance led by a person often called the “Lion of Panjshir.” Headed by Ahmad Shah Massoud in the course of the ten years of warfare that the nation skilled, the Panjshir Valley remained unconquered.

“The Lion Tames the Bear in Afghanistan” was how one e book described Shah Massoud’s defence of this strategic area.

Ahmad Shah Massoud additionally led his folks in opposition to the dreaded Taliban till his assassination by Al Qaeda on 9 September, 2001, two days earlier than the 9/11 assaults in the US.

Why hasn’t Panjshir fallen to the Taliban but?

Its geographical location isolates it from the remainder of the nation, with just one entry level by means of a slim passage created by the Panjshir River. This makes it straightforward to defend and the Hindu Kush mountain vary act as a pure protection in opposition to incursions.

As Col Ronnie Rajkumar within the Monetary Specific described, “Panjshir Province is a defender’s dream and an attacker’s nightmare.”

Retreating to the household’s protected haven and surrounded by the Taliban, the youthful Massoud is in search of to rally an armed opposition by stirring the reminiscence of his father and the area’s historical past.

He stated he has been joined by former members of the nation’s Particular Forces and troopers from the Afghan military “disgusted by the give up of their commanders” in addition to Saleh and Defence Minister Basic Bismillah Mohammadi.

Why Afghanistans Panjshir Valley remains out of Taliban reach

On Monday, Saleh, who has taken refuge in Panjshir, took to Twitter warning the Taliban to keep away from getting into Panjshir province. He wrote, “Talibs have massed forces close to the doorway of Panjshir a day after they bought trapped in ambush zones of neighboring Andarab valley & hardly went out in a single piece. In the meantime Salang freeway is closed by the forces of the Resistance. “There are terrains to be prevented”. See you.”​

Talking to The Nationwide newspaper, Massoud stated that scores of Afghan navy had fled to Panjshir, bringing tons of of Humvees, armoured vehicles and 5 helicopters with them.

And because the week has drawn on, increasingly Afghan commandos have publicly introduced their help for the “Resistance 2.0”.

This sense seems to be mirrored by Panjshiris on-line. Native Fb teams within the valley are crammed with outpourings of help for Ahmad Massoud. The anti-Taliban sentiment had been intensifying within the area even earlier than the insurgents captured Kabul.

Can it’s a critical menace to Taliban?

Analysts doubt Panjshir can turn out to be a critical menace to the Taliban.

Safety specialists opine that the Panjshir resistance is outnumbered in addition to outgunned with the Taliban now in possession of huge portions of western weaponry, together with artillery and plane both captured from authorities forces or handed over to them.

Abdul Sayed, an unbiased researcher based mostly in Lund in Sweden, stated he didn’t share Massoud’s optimism for the possibilities of resistance.

“The Taliban encompass Panjshir from all sides and I do not assume Massoud’s son can resist way more than a few months. For the second, he doesn’t have any actually sturdy help,” stated Sayed.

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