An Afghan waves the national flag in Kabul

Anti-Taliban forces massing in Panjshir Valley, Russia says

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says resistance movement forming in country's last holdout — led by vice-president Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Massoud, son of a famed Northern Alliance commander

AFP |
Updated: 08.19.21, 17:42
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday that a Taliban resistance is forming in Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley led by vice president Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Massoud, the son of a famed anti-Taliban fighter.
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  • "The Taliban doesn't control the whole territory of Afghanistan," Lavrov told reporters at a press conference in Moscow following a meeting with his Libyan counterpart.
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    An Afghan waves the national flag in Kabul
    An Afghan waves the national flag in Kabul
    An Afghan waves the national flag in Kabul
    (Photo: AFP)
    "There are reports of the situation in the Panjshir Valley where the resistance of Afghanistan's vice president Mr. Saleh and Ahmad Massoud is concentrated," he said.
    Lavrov also reiterated his call for an inclusive dialogue involving all political players in Afghanistan for the formation of a "representative government".
    The Panjshir Valley, located northeast of Kabul, is Afghanistan's last remaining holdout, known for its natural defenses.
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    Vice President of Afghanistan Amrullah Saleh speaks during a function at the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul on August 4, 2021
    Vice President of Afghanistan Amrullah Saleh speaks during a function at the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul on August 4, 2021
    Vice President of Afghanistan Amrullah Saleh speaks during a function at the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul on August 4, 2021
    (Photo: AFP)
    According to images shared on social media, Saleh and Massoud - the son of anti-Taliban fighter and "Lion of Panjshir" Ahmed Shah Massoud - are pulling together a guerrilla movement to take on the Taliban.
    Moscow has been cautiously optimistic about the new leadership in Kabul and is seeking contact with the militants in an effort to avoid instability spilling over to neighboring ex-Soviet states.
    While the United States and other countries rushed to evacuate their citizens from Kabul, Russia said its embassy will continue to work.
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    Ahmed Shah Massoud, also known as ‘Lion of Panjshir’
    Ahmed Shah Massoud, also known as ‘Lion of Panjshir’
    Ahmed Shah Massoud, also known as ‘Lion of Panjshir’
    (Photo: AFP)
    Earlier this week, Russia's ambassador to Afghanistan Dmitry Zhirnov met with the Taliban in Kabul, hailing on state television a "positive and constructive" meeting.
    The Kremlin has in recent years reached out to the Taliban -- which is banned as an "extremist" group in Russia -- and hosted its representatives in Moscow several times, most recently last month.

    First published: 17:10, 08.19.21
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