Afghanistan Panjshir. Panjshir again becomes a challenge for Taliban, will the history of 1996 be repeated?
File photo: Taliban after the occupation of Afghanistan
- The area under the influence of Ahmed Shah Masood is the area of Panjshir, even in 1996 the Taliban could not capture
- The Hindukush hills and the Panjshir river make the areas impenetrable, the Soviet Union was also defeated
- Panjsheel area is full of gems like emerald, sapphire, ruby.
New Delhi: “I will never, ever and under any circumstances bow down to Taliban terrorists. I will never betray the spirit and legacy of our hero Ahmed Shah Masood, commander and guide,” Afghanistan’s deposed Vice President Amrullah Saleh wrote on Twitter on August 15. So at that time it was estimated that the Panjshir area, located just 150 km north-east of Kabul, was going to become a headache for the Taliban again. And this has been confirmed by Saleh with another revelation. Describing the situation in his tweet on 23 August, he wrote, “A large number of Taliban forces are present after being trapped in the Andrab Valley. For the time being, the Saland highway is closed by our fighters.”
In fact, the Panjshir Valley is Afghanistan’s last remaining base where anti-Taliban forces are waging a guerrilla war to deal with the Islamic fundamentalist group. And the road is not going to be easy for them. And the struggle is led by Ahmed Shah, the son of Ahmad Shah Masood, and Amrullah Saleh, who declared himself acting president after President Ashraf Ghani left the country.
why are you struggling
Smriti S. Patnaik, Research Fellow, Manohar Parrikar Institute of Defense Studies and Analysis, Times Now Navbharat Digital “We have to look at this conflict as a conflict between the local ethnicities of Afghanistan. The Taliban are dominated by Pashtuns. While the Panjshir area is dominated by the Tajik community and a decent number of Uzbeks. If we look at the region, its borders are close to Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, so the people of this area have historically feared that their political and social participation will be weakened if they accept the power of Taliban.
Therefore, in the present situation, he is walking with all avenues open. On the one hand they are talking of struggle, on the other hand some of their leaders are looking for a way of dialogue. The strategy is that if there is a sharing of power, how will it be. Perhaps he is also looking at how much support he gets for opposing the Taliban in Afghanistan and internationally. Because at the time of 1996, the Northern Alliance was getting cooperation from India-Iran-Tajikistan. Apart from this, there are Gilzai Pashtuns in the Afghanistan army who are doing less as soldiers and they are not as influential as Durran Pashtuns. In such a situation, what will be his stand on the Taliban? The situation is not clear about this also. One thing is clear that if they want to continue the fight against the Taliban, it is not possible without international support. Especially the support of regional countries will be very important. We must also not forget that when the US conquered the Taliban, it was Ahmed Shah Masood who captured Kabul.
It is said that the valley of 5 lions
Panjshir Ghati means valley of five lions. There is a legend behind this name, which says that in the 10th century, five brothers controlled the flood waters and built a dam for Mahmud, Sultan of Ghazni. Due to his courage, this area was named Panjshir.
Taliban could not win even in 1990-96
The Panjshir Valley has always played an important role in the military history of Afghanistan. In this his geographical position always makes him invincible. It is such that separates it from the whole of Afghanistan. In such a situation, the only way to reach this area is the narrow road passing through the Panjshin River. In such a situation, it is easy to keep it safe from any attack. Known for its natural defenses, this region nestled in the Hindu Kush mountains did not come under the hands of the Taliban in 1990. Even the Soviet Union could never win it. Most of the 150,000 inhabitants of the valley belong to the Tajik ethnic group.
The glorious history of Ahmed Shah Masood
In his tweet, ousted Vice President Amrulla Saleh has talked about Aham Shah Masood, the hero of North Afghanistan. He has a glorious history. The Panjshir Valley was one of the safest areas in the country during the NATO-backed government from 2001 to 2021. This history of the Valley’s independence is closely linked to one of Afghanistan’s most famous anti-Taliban fighters, Ahmed Shah Masood. Ahmed Shah was born in the year 1953 and declared himself as Musad (lucky) in 1979. And he opposed the communist government of the Soviet Union present in Kabul. And in a very short time became one of the influential Mujahideen commanders.
After the withdrawal of the Soviet Union in 1989, civil war broke out in Afghanistan, which was eventually won by the Taliban. However, Masood and his United Front (also known as the Northern Alliance) succeeded in controlling not only the Panjshir Valley, but almost the entire northeast of Afghanistan up to the border with China and Tajikistan, and the Taliban. expansion in this area was stopped. In 2001, Masood was assassinated by Al Qaeda terrorists. Once again, when the Taliban have captured Afghanistan, their unfulfilled desire has started rising again.
Emerald gives strength
The biggest strength of Tajiks present in Panjshir area is the gems present there. According to the document of the Export Strategy 2018-22 of the Ministry of Commerce of Afghanistan, emerald, ruby, sapphire are found in huge quantities there. Which accounts for about 35 percent of Afghanistan’s exports. According to the report, around $8-10 million emeralds were produced in 2016. In such a situation, whoever occupies this area, he also gets financial support for the struggle.
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