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Russia set to help Taliban reach political deal with 'resistance' leaders at Panjshir

There has been no armed opposition to the Taliban

amrulla-panjshir Ahmad Massoud (centre) with Amrulla Saleh (right) in Panjshir Valley

Hinting that Russia will play an active role in bringing some sort of political rapproachment between the Taliban and the 'resistance leaders' at Panjshir Valley, the Russian ambassador in Kabul said the Taliban has asked his embassy to convey their offer of a deal to the holdout group in northern Afghanistan. Ambassador Dmitry Zhirnov said on Saturday that a senior member of the Taliban's political leadership has asked Russia to tell fighters in the Panjshir Valley that the Taliban hope to reach a political agreement to settle the situation there. The diplomat said the Taliban claim they don't want bloodshed in the region.

There has been no armed opposition to the Taliban. But videos from the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul, a stronghold of the Northern Alliance militias that allied with the US during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, appear to show potential opposition figures gathering there. That area is in the only province that has not fallen to the Taliban. The valley is the birthplace of Ahmad Shah Massoud, one of the tallest anti-Taliban fighters from the country. 

Those figures include members of the deposed government Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who asserted on Twitter that he is the country's rightful president, and Defense Minister Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi as well as Ahmad Massoud, the son of the slain Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud.

In an opinion piece published by The Washington Post, Massoud asked for weapons and aid to fight the Taliban.

"I write from the Panjshir Valley today, ready to follow in my father's footsteps, with mujahideen fighters who are prepared to once again take on the Taliban," he wrote. "The Taliban is not a problem for the Afghan people alone. Under Taliban control, Afghanistan will without doubt become ground zero of radical Islamist terrorism; plots against democracies will be hatched here once again."


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