Taliban forces successfully surrounded the Afghan capital; Kabul on Sunday (15/8/2021) as the United States (US) was evacuating diplomats from its embassy by helicopter. Taliban Successfully Enter Afghanistan’s Capital
The Taliban are dispatching hundreds of fighters to the Panjshir Valley; 150 kilometers north of the Afghan capital; Kabul; to try to stamp out an emerging resistance movement led by the son of a warlord who defied them the last time they ruled Afghanistan 20 years ago.
The deployment comes hours after forces aligned with Ahmad Massoud’s National Resistance Front; comprising remnants of regular Afghan army units and special forces and local militia fighters; clashed with the Taliban in Andarab — a southern district in Baghlan province.
Ahmad Massoud’s father; Ahmad Shah Massoud; nicknamed the “lion of the Panjshir;” blocked Soviet forces in the 1980s and the Taliban in the 1990s from conquering the narrow and almost impenetrable valley It has in effect one main road in and out. His 32-year-old son; who was trained at Britain’s military academy Sandhurst and was taught war studies at King’s College; London; hopes to emulate his father.
The Taliban gave Massoud four hours Sunday to surrender the Panjshir Valley; saying they were deploying forces “after local state officials refused to hand it over peacefully.” Ahmad Massoud has been holding negotiations with the Taliban since the Islamist movement seized power in Kabul a week ago; but one of his advisers told VOA that the talks were stalled and appeared unlikely to advance.
On Sunday, Massoud told Reuters that he did not want war. “We want to make the Taliban realize that the only way forward is through negotiation,” he said by telephone. He said his fighters are ready to fight. “They want to resist any totalitarian regime,” he said.