Report: Afghan ‘Popular Uprising Forces’ Claim Wins Against Taliban

Afghan security forces on Humvee vehicles move in a convoy at Parakh area in Bazarak, Panjshir province on August 20, 2021, after the Taliban stunning takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by AHMAD SAHEL ARMAN / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD SAHEL ARMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
AHMAD SAHEL ARMAN/AFP via Getty Images

Pajhwok Afghan News reported Friday morning that “popular uprising” forces have captured three districts north of Kabul from the Taliban. Local sources said several Taliban fighters were injured in the battle.

Hassan Sajwani of the United Arab Emirates translated the Pajhwok report into English.

Sajwani noted the liberation of the three districts from Taliban control was also reported by Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi, former defense minister under deposed President Ashraf Ghani. Mohammadi is operating out of Panjshir province, headquarters of the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan, an anti-Taliban coalition led by Ahmad Massoud. Mohammadi vowed to”liberate” Afghanistan from the “terrorist” Taliban after the fall of Kabul and called for the arrest of Ghani, whom he accused of “selling away the homeland.”

“I am not so unscrupulous as to sit around a table with the killers of thousands of defence forces and innocent civilians and declare my support for this terrorist group,” Mohammadi said Sunday.

The still-operational Afghan embassy in Tajikistan also asked Interpol to arrest Ghani on embezzlement charges after reports the former president fled before the Taliban advance with $169 million in cash.

Former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who declared himself the rightful chief executive under the Afghan constitution after Ghani’s abdication, is also in Panjshir and working as a leader of the resistance movement. 

“I will never, ever and under no circumstances bow to the Taliban terrorists. I will never betray the soul and legacy of my hero Ahmad Shah Massoud, the commander, the legend and the guide. I won’t disappoint millions who listened to me. I will never be under one ceiling with Taliban. NEVER,” Saleh vowed Sunday, referring to a revered anti-Soviet resistance fighter who was murdered by the Taliban and al-Qaeda two days before 9/11.

Current resistance leader Ahmad Massoud, son of the slain “Lion of Panjshir,” wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post on Wednesday in which he asked for Western assistance to fight the Taliban.

Massoud said “soldiers from the Afghan regular army who were disgusted by the surrender of their commanders and are now making their way to the hills of Panjshir with their equipment” to join his militia, including Afghan Special Forces veterans.

“We have stores of ammunition and arms that we have patiently collected since my father’s time, because we knew this day might come,” he said, while acknowledging his manpower and supplies will not be enough to repel an all-out Taliban assault:

The United States and its allies have left the battlefield, but America can still be a “great arsenal of democracy,” as Franklin D. Roosevelt said when coming to the aid of the beleaguered British before the U.S. entry into World War II.

To that end, I entreat Afghanistan’s friends in the West to intercede for us in Washington and in New York, with Congress and with the Biden administration. Intercede for us in London, where I completed my studies, and in Paris, where my father’s memory was honored this spring by the naming of a pathway for him in the Champs-Élysées gardens.

Know that millions of Afghans share your values. We have fought for so long to have an open society, one where girls could become doctors, our press could report freely, our young people could dance and listen to music or attend soccer matches in the stadiums that were once used by the Taliban for public executions — and may soon be again.

“No matter what happens, my mujahedeen fighters and I will defend Panjshir as the last bastion of Afghan freedom,” Massound promised. “Our morale is intact. We know from experience what awaits us. But we need more weapons, more ammunition and more supplies.”

The northeastern province of Panjshir, about a hundred miles from Kabul, makes a formidable stronghold for a resistance movement. With only a single easily-defended entrance, the Panjshir River valley has never been conquered by either the Taliban or the Soviet invaders in the 1980s. The ethnic Tajik population of the valley frequently demanded autonomy from the central government in Kabul.

“The Taliban doesn’t control the whole territory of Afghanistan. There are reports of the situation in the Panjshir Valley where the resistance of Afghanistan’s vice president Mr. Saleh and Ahmad Massoud is concentrated,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov acknowledged Thursday.

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