The Panjshir Resistance Leader Says He’s Ready for Talks with the Taliban
Ahmad Massoud, head of NRF, says he welcomes proposals for a negotiated settlement to end fighting in Panjshir Valley. Heavy fighting continues between the Taliban and resistance forces in Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley as the armed group tries to seize the last holdout province.
The Situation in Panjshir
In recent days, militants managed to take over several checkpoints in the region and cut off the local highway. Mirwais Alami, a spokesman for the Panjshir Resistance leader, says he remains optimistic that the fighters will defeat the Taliban and remain on their way to Kabul to take their fight to the U.S.-backed government. In an interview with VOA, he said the opposition forces are also under pressure from the government-run so-called security forces, which he said were more interested in striking the insurgents in the Panjshir Valley than in doing their job of defending the province.
Ahmad Massoud, head of the National Resistance of Panjshir, said he is ready for talks with Taliban insurgents, but only if they recognize the rights of Afghan women. He said the fighting is taking place in about 20 villages and the situation remains under control. Massoud said, “The fighting is in villages that are owned by our families. We are defending these areas and we are not withdrawing until our people are liberated and no one is imposed on us.” Massoud also called on international military and political leaders to pressure Afghan authorities to engage the Taliban in negotiations. Fierce fighting U.S. airstrikes against Taliban targets have intensified in the area. Ten members of Afghanistan’s security forces were killed in airstrikes in the Panjshir Valley this week.
What are the consequences of the fighting?
Ahmad Massoud, the head of the National Reconciliation Factions Forum (NRF), which claims to represent groups opposed to the Taliban, said he welcomes proposals for a negotiated settlement to end the fighting. “I welcome the proposals of our brothers in Afghanistan and Pakistan and I am ready to cooperate with them, to participate in talks, and even sign a political reconciliation,” Massoud said. According to the commander of the peacekeeping mission in the province, Massoud’s group, together with another insurgent group called Hoti, have the sole control over one of the province’s strategic locations, Kohn-e-Taftan, or Battle of Takht-e-Suleiman.
Ahmad Massoud, head of the National Salvation Front (NRF), the country’s main resistance group, told VOA he is ready to discuss a negotiated settlement with the Taliban. Massoud added that he is ready to hold direct talks with the Taliban in the presence of regional countries and U.N. representatives. The fighting in Panjshir Valley in recent days comes after an agreement between Massoud and Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed government was struck to put a temporary halt to the fighting. More than 30,000 Afghan security forces are battling Taliban militants in the Panjshir Valley and some 70 villages have been seized by the insurgents, according to Afghan officials. The fighting is said to have displaced some 5,000 families.