Despite the Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan, pockets of armed opposition apparently exist.
In a counter offensive, anti-Taliban militia forces have reportedly taken control of three districts in Afghanistan about 100 miles north of the capital city of Kabul near the Panjshir Valley, where about 6,000 anti-Taliban fighters, some of whom are former army troops, have consolidated.
In a tweet (as translated), Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi, the Afghan government’s defense minister, or perhaps former defense minister, wrote that “resistance against the terrorist Taliban is a presumption for each of us…Hesar Bridge, Deh Salah and [Banu] in Baghlan have been captured by the popular resistance forces. The resistance is still alive.”
Significant loss of live occurred among both the Taliban and the anti-Taliban fighters, according to Afghanistan media outlet Tolo News.
“With the help of Allah, we inflicted massive casualties to the Taliban, currently Banu district is under the control of public uprising forces,” Tolo News reported, quoting a local former police commander.
“Sources said that after entering Baghlan the Taliban went on house-to-house searches, which sparked the people’s retaliation. Although the Taliban officially has not commented, there are unconfirmed reports that the Taliban is preparing to retake these districts,” the news outlet added.
Ghani Andarabi, a former local police commander, said the Banu district in Baghlan was under the control of local militia forces and said there had been heavy casualties “to the Taliban,” Tolo News further reported.
“With the support of God and the mujahideen, three districts were liberated, we are now moving toward Khinjan district and will clear Baghlan province soon,” the former police chief said.
How long the resistance fighters can retain control of these areas from the heavily armed Taliban (boosted by the American-made weapons they have seized) remains to be seen.
“Former Vice President Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Massoud, son of former anti-Soviet Mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, have vowed to resist the Taliban from Panjshir, which repelled both Soviet forces and the Taliban in the 1980s and 1990s….The Taliban have not so far tried to enter Panjshir, which is still dotted with the wreckage of Soviet armored vehicles destroyed in the fighting more than 30 years ago,” Reuters explained.
De Salah district also fell to the local resistance forces.
— Tajuden Soroush (@TajudenSoroush) August 20, 2021
Recapture of Bano district from the Taliban by the People Uprising Forces. pic.twitter.com/7lYbmdUIrj
— Natiq Malikzada (@natiqmalikzada) August 20, 2021
خیزش های مردمی تحت قومندانی عبدالحمید دادگر ادعا دارند که سه ولسوالی اندراب بغلان را از طالبان گرفتند
اما طالبان درین مورد چیزی نه گفته اند. pic.twitter.com/nreRSneAdO
— Pajhwok Afghan News (@pajhwok) August 20, 2021
Despite the massive resources poured into Afghan security forces, the army and police force collapsed practically overnight in connection with Joe Biden’s botched U.S. troop withdrawal.
The Taliban currently control 33 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces and at least 222 of the country’s 421 districts.
It seems unlikely at this point that the West will provide any backup for the anti-Taliban movement.
“The Pentagon has said there are no military or security forces from the Afghan regime still operating as functioning units in the fight against Taliban. Leaders in Panjshir seem to know that any fighting is likely to be seen by the United States as a distraction that could endanger an evacuation effort that has already proven disastrously chaotic. Many are furious at what they consider a betrayal, and not hesitant to say so,” the New York Times reported.
First Vice President Saleh has declared himself the acting or caretaker president of Afghanistan given President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country and has vowed to resist the Taliban, adding that the opposition is “under one command structure.”
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