The Panchir's resistance to the Taliban, an uncertain adventure -!


In several texts published in recent days, Ahmad Massoud urged Panchir’s resistance and asked for international support, in particular arms and ammunition from the United States.

Amrullah Saleh promised him not to submit to the Taliban and withdrew to this valley.

The two men posted themselves together on social networks, seeming to lay the foundation stone of a resistance movement.

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– Virtual resistance

The Panchir valley, north-east of Kabul is not under the control of the Taliban, noted Thursday the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. But that doesn’t necessarily mean there is fighting.

” The resistance is for the moment verbal, because the Taliban did not seek to penetrate the Panchir “, estimates Gilles Dorronsoro, professor of political science at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, specialist in Afghanistan and author in 2021 of the book ” The transnational government of Afghanistan – Such a Predictable Defeat “.

On the other hand, ” they surround the Panchir from all sides “, notes Abdul Sayed, political scientist at Lund University in Sweden.

The Italian NGO Emergency reported on Wednesday a ” increasing number of war wounded “in his hospital in the Panchir valley.

” There is no fighting currently in the Panchir, but there may have been some skirmishes, on the road to the valley, in the Chamali plain “, explains to AFP, on condition of anonymity, a Frenchman who is well acquainted with the region and who fought in the Panchir alongside Commander Massoud at the end of the years 1178.

For Bill Roggio of the American FDD think tank, the Panchir escapes the Taliban, ” but the status of the neighboring province of Parwan is not clear. It seems that Saleh’s forces tried to extend their control there from the Panchir “.

” The Taliban built their victory over the Blitzkrieg and surrender; eventually they arrived without much violence “, recalls Mr. Dorronsoro. ” A frontal attack with all the symbolic weight of Panchir today, it would go against their will to normalize “.

– A loose coupling

One lives in the wake of his father’s legend but has little influence and political weight, the other has been in the hands of Afghan power for years and is deeply political.

” The relationship between Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh is a bit complicated. From the start there is a dissonance between the two “, analyzes Mr. Dorronsoro.

” Ahmad Massoud does not have an official position in the regime, he is someone who does not have strong support in Afghanistan outside of Panchir “, according to the researcher.

Like the French veteran who knows the region, he believes that the son Massoud lives in the ” fatherly fantasy “and the” legend ” from his father.

” He feels he is the bearer of an inheritance, he takes the clothes of the lion cub (his father was nicknamed “the Lion of Panchir” ). He says to himself: + if someone has to enter into resistance, it’s up to me to do it + “, analyzes the veteran.

Mr. Saleh ” claims to be constitutionally the legitimate Afghan president after the flight of Ashraf Ghani “, notes Mr. . Sayed.

– Negotiation with the Taliban

What are the objectives pursued? ” Negotiating with the Taliban or are we talking about real armed resistance? ” asks the French researcher.

” The interests of the Panchiris are currently being politically defended in Kabul by (the former head of government) Abdullah Abdullah, who is negotiating with the Taliban, and by Massoud’s uncles who are negotiating in Pakistan “, points out the veteran.

He considers it possible that ” this resistance is a way of influencing the negotiations in Kabul so that the interests of the Panchiris are defended , and that at a given moment, Abdullah or the family calls Massoud and tells him: + it’s good, you can stop, we have a good agreement + “.

He believes that Mr. Saleh is not in the same logic because he is a ” personal enemy of the Taliban “.

Gilles Dorronsoro does not exclude, however, that he nevertheless tries to negotiate with the new masters of the country, ” since ‘he talks about a peace process that should be more inclusive “.

– Foreign weapons and support

Militarily, ” this is not going anywhere “, according to the French researcher. ” The Taliban just have to lock the Panchir and voila, no need to really enter it “.

Massoud ” has young people, vehicles, helicopters, ammunition, he’s been preparing for months “, considers for his part the French veteran. However, he shares the researcher’s analysis: ” they have the means to pretend “, to shut himself up in the valley, but little more.

It remains to know the position of possible foreign sponsors who might have an interest in seeing an active resistance, enthusiastic about the Massoud legend or opposed to the creation in the area of ​​a fanatic theocracy.

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