After the Taliban claimed victory in what was till Sunday the last province in Afghanistan that was not under their control, National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA) leader Ahmad Massoud has released an audio message calling for the fight to continue.
“Wherever you are, inside or outside, I call on you to begin a national uprising for the dignity, freedom and prosperity of our country,” Massoud said, according to AFP.
In his message, an English translation of which was uploaded by a popular NRFA Twitter account, Massoud accused the Taliban of being backed by foreign mercenaries.
“Dear compatriots! Wherever you are, whether inside the country or outside, we appeal to you to rise up in resistance for the dignity, integrity and freedom of our country! Whatever means at your disposal, rise up against a crippling humiliation brought on us today by foreigners!” he said.
He added that the NRF would stand firmly with anyone who opposed the Taliban, whether those who take up arms or those who protest.
He also blamed the international community for “providing the Taliban with the ruinous opportunity that helped them gain political legitimacy and entitlement” and said the people of Afghanistan would bear witness to see who stands in solidarity with them.
Massoud, the son of the late Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, had been in Panjshir Valley along with former Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh, following the Taliban takeover of Kabul. There, he mounted what was seen as the only significant pocket of resistance against the Taliban.
However, on Monday the Taliban said it had taken the Panjshir Valley. Thousands of its fighters overran eight districts of Panjshir overnight, AP reported witnesses from the area as saying, who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for their safety.
Amrullah Saleh is reported to have fled to neighbouring Tajiksitan. However, the NRFA have denied losing the valley and claim their forces remained in all strategic positions in it.
The victory came after Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Lt Gen Hameed visited Kabul, in what the Taliban said was a move to improve bilateral relations between Kabul and Islamabad. Hameed met with Taliban chief Mullah Baradar.
During the Taliban’s final onslaught on the Panjshir Valley, it was reported that they had air support, with allegations that Pakistani Air Force drones were used to bomb the resistance fighters. A defence analyst, Babak Taghvaee, claimed that Pakistan used CH-4 missile-carrying drones, which killed NRFA spokesperson Fahim Dashti.