With the Taliban taking control over the capital city of Kabul as the security forces folded rather tamely in front of the terrorist outfit, only one front is left standing — the front led by Vice President Amrullah Saleh who hasn’t fled the country like President Ashraf Ghani. Saleh is looking to mount an offence by coalescing a coalition of anti-Taliban forces.
Amrullah Saleh, Vice President of Afghanistan and Ahmad Massoud, son of Ahmad Shah Massoud spotted in Panjshir.They are bringing all Anti-Taliban commanders together in Panjshir. This province is still free from Taliban. pic.twitter.com/bgb8hUdfwi
— Sudhir Chaudhary (@sudhirchaudhary) August 16, 2021
Taking to Twitter, Saleh vowed to never, ever and under no circumstances bow down in front of the Taliban. He tweeted, “I will never, ever & under no circumstances bow to d Talib terrorists. I will never betray d soul & legacy of my hero Ahmad Shah Masoud, the commander, the legend & the guide. I won’t disappoint millions who listened to me. I will never be under one ceiling with Taliban. NEVER.”
After the Taliban breached Kabul, questions were raised regarding the whereabouts of Saleh and if he had disappeared the same way as Ghani. However, Saleh’s tweet, photos and videos of him went viral where he was seen in consultations with Ahmad Massoud, the son of the late legendary anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, in Panjshir Valley.
Panjshir Valley is the only region out of the Taliban’s hands, courtesy its geographic ruggedness and also the fact that it is fiercely guarded as the birthplace of one of Afghanistan’s greatest sons.
Years ago, Amrullah Saleh was bit by a venomous snake. After eight days of excruciating pain, the snake died. https://t.co/MXL1K4vEDH
— Jeff M. Smith (@Cold_Peace_) August 17, 2021
Late Ahmed Shah Massoud took on the Taliban when it came to power in 1996 as the leader of the Northern Alliance. The Alliance, a concoction of tribal leaders and warlords held out in the northern parts of Afghanistan against the Taliban more than 25 years ago. Under his command, the Panjshir valley kept the Taliban at an arm’s length. Later, in the 1990s, he became the all-powerful defence minister in Burhanuddin Rabbani’s cabinet.
He even helped the US in its ‘war against terrorism’ in the region and was fondly referred to as Sher-e-Panjshir. Saleh considers him as his idol and thus he is not willing to drop the towel just now.
Slamming Pakistan for supporting the Taliban, Saleh had earlier tweeted, “Truth can’t be hidden or faked for long. It comes out and hits back at the liar and the deceiver. Pakistan can’t hide anymore. They are in the war and on the side of the terrorist Taliban.”
Truth can't be hidden or faked for long. It comes out and hits back at the liar & the deceiver. Pakistan can't hide anymore. They are in the war and on the side of the terrorist Taliban. https://t.co/RDgjIIaYpk
— Amrullah Saleh (@AmrullahSaleh2) August 12, 2021
Pakistan has played an active part in providing arms, ammunition, support and healthcare facilities to the Taliban. Pakistan’s ISI was behind one of the assaination attempts on Saleh as he is the biggest thorn in the flesh.
Saleh, one of the fiercest critics of cross-border terror and Islamabad’s interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs survived the deadly assassination attempt along with his son, even as at least 10 others succumbed to their injuries.
Saleh is known to give it back to the enemy, fair and square. As Reported by TFI, Saleh hit it out of the ballpark last month by posting the legendary and famous picture of the Pakistan Army’s surrender to the Indian Army in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.
Posting the picture, Saleh wrote, “We don’t have such a picture in our history and won’t ever have. Yes, yesterday I flinched for a fraction of a second as a rocket flew above & landed few meters away. Dear Pak twitter attackers, Taliban & terrorism won’t heal the trauma of this picture. Find other ways.”
We don't have such a picture in our history and won't ever have. Yes, yesterday I flinched for a friction of a second as a rocket flew above & landed few meters away. Dear Pak twitter attackers, Talibn & terrorism won't heal the trauma of this picture. Find other ways. pic.twitter.com/lwm6UyVpoh
— Amrullah Saleh (@AmrullahSaleh2) July 21, 2021
With a leadership vacuum in the war-torn nation, Saleh is one of the few leaders left than can take on the Taliban and give it a bloody nose. Although, Saleh’s alliance might be behind the eight ball at the moment but with a geographical advantage in the Panjshir Valley, he has the time to strengthen his forces and come down hard at the terrorist outfit. Countries like India should tacitly support Saleh with the required arms and ammunition so that Taliban can be kept in check and away from completely taking over Afghanistan.