Huzaifa Nasir

The somber Panjshir valley, in the Hindu Kush Mountains north of Kabul, has long been the heart of military resistance in Afghanistan

The situation in Afghanistan is apparently in the Taliban hands, controlling belligerent northern Afghanistan to Western and Eastern flanks, concerning precincts are now undoubtedly in the Taliban’s control. Afghanistan’s North was never fully controlled by the Taliban, not even in the erstwhile Taliban regime (1996-2001) and particularly Sheberghan is etched in the memory of the Taliban as thousands among their ranks had brutally perished at the hands of the militia of General Dostum under the nose of Americans.

After the Invasion of Afghanistan, US forces allied with General Dostum’s militia seized the Kunduz province- located in northern Afghanistan- gullible Taliban militia were not fully ready for the combat as they had less ammo against a humongous force. By hook or by crook the situation was overwhelming for the Taliban as General Dostum had forged an agreement with the Taliban- yielding Taliban’s defeat and making them surrender on the pretext of good treatment. The detainees had been tricked to surrender to the understanding, that they would be permitted to go home on giving up weaponry or treated as per UN codes and customs. Sadly, many detainees were carried to Qala-i-Jangi, a garrison near Mazar-i-Sharif, where they later rebelled against ghastly severe conditions. The remaining 7,500 or so captives were oppressed, with their fists and toes tied, in sealed freight containers for moving to Sheberghan penitentiary (General Dostum’s home town). Indeed Sheberghan is etched in most Taliban’s struggle memory just like ‘Saigon Moment’ is in the US army’s memory. After the debacle, subsequently, the Americans withdrew all forces from Afghanistan without succoring the beleaguered Afghans amid clamour that the Afghan National Army would defeat the Taliban. 

If barely training, facilities, and resources could cause soldiers to develop into a dangerous force ready to secure a nation in the face of troublesome odds, the Afghan National Army would have defeated the rag-tag Taliban volunteers in no time. But the American soldiers’ trainees overlooked the lesson of the past. Warriors need the impulse to fight. They need leadership that they trust. The Americans have been providing every facility to the feeble Afghan Army but couldn’t lend them good leaders, which led them towards surrender without firing a single bullet. The United States’ dream to capture and rule Afghanistan is promptly an uncomfortable footnote of chronicle. On the other hand, countless American made ammo has been impounded by the Taliban. 

Warriors need the impulse to fight. They need leadership that they trust. The Americans have been providing every facility to the feeble Afghan Army but couldn’t lend them good leaders

Ashraf Ghani fled the country; Abdullah Abdullah and Hamid Karzai have been striving to make any possible deal with the Taliban; silly Amraullah Saleh, Vice President of the erstwhile Ashraf Ghani’s regime, has absolutely shunned the Taliban regime and considers himself the President of Afghanistan. Seemingly, Saleh in cahoot with Massoud’s offspring- Once a war-lord, would be the only dissenters in Afghanistan. Interestingly, the Taliban are now seemingly more powerful than the Taliban of 1996. 

Why Panjshir valley still remains out of bounds for the Taliban? The valley has historically stood against foreign aggression and invaders. The somber Panjshir valley, in the Hindu Kush Mountains north of Kabul, has long been the heart of military resistance in Afghanistan. Panjshir Valley has some famous names: The experts famously call the valley a Defender’s dream and an attacker’s nightmare. Taliban are desperately looking to overcome the valley due to its closeness with Kabul and connectivity to other northern cities. The Panjshir Valley is home to around 200,000 Dari-speaking Tajiks is famous for being the underdogs in strong Afghanistan. 

If barely training, facilities, and resources could cause soldiers to develop into a dangerous force ready to secure a nation in the face of troublesome odds, the Afghan National Army would have defeated the rag-tag Taliban volunteers in no time

The valley was conquered neither by the soviets and interestingly nor by the former Taliban regime ever. The geography of the region is very stern and confusing-it is perhaps the only stringent reason. Seemingly, after the US withdrawal, the valley once become a home to dissent against the Taliban. In the context of recent developments, sooner or later the valley has to surrender as the Taliban today are more dominant than their former regime. Interestingly, the international community has been ignoring this issue of concern, busy evacuating their favourite Afghans who served them. Howsoever, the fall of the Panjshir is imminent. Nevertheless, if the Taliban do not agree with the Panjshiris, the outcome could be very fierce and spooky. We must pray for the beleaguered innocent civilians in Panjshir and let them agree on the terms as Afghans deserve to have some rest.

Unfortunately, the blitzkrieg strategy had been espoused by the Taliban in the former regime- 1996. Apparently, the contemporary contingents are way more conscious of adopting a strategy of courtesy and humbleness. It should be noted that the Taliban have been taking every step very consciously and striving to maintain peace between various ethnic groups- Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Hazaras. Now and then; one has to bow down for the sake of humanity: The Dissenters’ cadre, Ahmed Shah Massoud’s son and Saleh have been assailing the Taliban’s contemporary regime whose outcome would be unfathomable. Afghanistan could and can become a peaceful and pluralistic state if Multi-ethnic people shake their hands on common terms. 

About The Author
Sayed Huzaifa Nasir is a graduate of Bahria University, Islamabad. He has a penchant for writing son the contemporary status quo and international geopolitical scenarios. He can be reached on Medium.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of Rationale-47.



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