© 2021 Copyright France 24 – All rights reserved. France 24 is not responsible for content from external websites. Attendance certified by the ACPM / OJD.
The Taliban said on Monday that they had taken control of all of Afghanistan, including the Panchir Valley, the stronghold of the late Commander Massoud. However, the local resistance, led by his son Ahmad Massoud, ensures that the fight is continuing. And this, faithful to the reputation of this province known to be impregnable.
In Afghanistan, all eyes are now on the mountainous Panchir Valley in the northeast of the country. The Taliban announced, Monday, September 6, to have taken “complete” control of this last pocket of armed resistance which escaped them, located about a hundred kilometers north of the capital.
An assertion denied by the National Resistance Front (FNR) led by Ahmad Massoud, the son of the late Commander Massoud, the “lion of Panchir”.
One of the FNR spokespersons, Fahim Fetrat, told France 24 Observers that the Taliban had taken the main valley road, the Saricha Road, and the towns, but assured that the FNR continued “to resist in the mountains and valleys “of the predominantly Tajik province.
A sign of the Panchiri’s determination, Ahmad Massoud, for his part, called for a “national uprising” against the new masters of Kabul.
“The young Massoud, who can count on 9,000 to 10,000 combatants, rallied by auxiliaries, embodies this spirit of resistance and the fight against fanaticism and obscurantism and has a certain capacity to unite”, specifies Olivier Weber, writer and author of “Massoud, the assassinated rebel” (ed. de l’Aube), interviewed by France 24.
Thousands of mujahedin from the Panchir region, as well as Afghan army and special forces soldiers joined the Panchir after the Taliban conquered their cities, according to Fahim Fetrat.
The spirit of resistance of the Massoud is at the origin of the legend of the enclaved valley of Panchir, of the name of the eponymous river which crosses it, which is however the smallest province of Afghanistan.
Impregnable, impregnable… It owes its reputation to its natural geography made up of narrow gorges and valleys between high mountains with steep slopes, which only make it accessible through a few rare points of entry, the main one being the Saricha Road.
A fertile province envied for the quality of its fruits, it is synonymous with paradise for its inhabitants and, conversely, hell for all those who have tried to conquer it.
“This valley was never completely taken, neither during the Soviet occupation, between 1979 and 1989, nor during Act I of the Taliban, from 1996 to 2001”, recalls Olivier Weber.
The architect of this fierce resistance is Ahmed Chah Massoud who, after having fought against the Afghan communist regime, indeed repelled the numerous attempts of the Soviet invader to dislodge his mujahedin from the valley, as well as those of the Taliban.
The aura and legacy of Commander Massoud, killed by suicide bombers in 2001, two days before the 9/11 attacks, remain pervasive in the rebellious province, which has sworn loyalty to his 32-year-old son, Ahmad Massoud. His National Resistance Front, made up of the Northern Alliance, formed by his father, and other movements, prepared for the Taliban to come to power.
After thinking about preserving the inviolability of the region for a while, and even starting discussions with the new power, the resistance fighters resolved to face the Taliban.
“We are in a new phase of the war,” said Fahim Fetrat. “We are entering the guerrilla phase now. This is not the first time this has happened to the Panchir, the same happened during the Soviet occupation and against the Taliban in the 1990s, when the enemy had captured the cities and that we had resisted in the mountains. “
“Militarily, the situation is complicated because the Taliban prepared their offensive by taking 21 valleys adjacent to the Panchir and remain on a dynamic of victory,” said Olivier Weber. “The balance of power is not favorable to the resistance, which is completely surrounded, even if we can trust the resistance fighters who have been in the guerrillas for a long time.”
He concluded: “In the eyes of the Taliban, the Panchir is a stain on the map, because he is not totally in control, and he may not be right away.”
Withdrawn into the mountains and valleys, the heirs of the “lion of Panchir” are once again playing their future and that of their natural fortress.
The summary of the week France 24 invites you to come back to the news that marked the week
Ahmad Massoud, leader of the resistance in Panchir, says he is ready to discuss with the Taliban