Why the fall of Panjshir is different this time, but Taliban troubles are still not over

The Panjshir valley was never conquered by the Taliban in their earlier stint and it also became the graveyard of the Soviet Forces when they occupied Afghanistan.

With the Taliban capturing the last pocket of resistance in the Panjshir valley, their dominance on Afghanistan is complete. This time the Taliban employed a completely different strategy and cut off all the supply lines of the National Resistance Movement. They also used Tanks, and some experts say that Pakistan Airpower was also used to pulverize the resistance. The world community barring Iran has been noncommittal and kept themselves out of this melee.

National Resistance Movement a shadow of the former Northern Alliance

The National Resistance movement is just a shadow of the formidable force under the legendary Ahmad Shah Massoud who ruled the Panjshir valley. The Panjshir valley was never conquered by the Taliban in their earlier stint and it also became the graveyard of the Soviet Forces when they occupied Afghanistan. However, Northern Alliance was supported by the US, India, and Iran earlier and it was the NA that made the final push when the US invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban.

Ahmad-Massoud-and-His-Father-Ahmad-Shah-Massoud-2
Ahmad-Massoud and His Father Ahmad-Shah Massoud

HT reported, Today the resistance is led by the son of Ahmad Massoud. However, Massoud’s son lacks the legitimacy and the brilliant tactician which his father was and his forces were quickly routed. He is also joined by Amrullah Saleh, an uncompromising opponent of the Taliban and their mentor, Pakistan.

Why the fall of Panjshir is different this time, but Taliban troubles are still not over
Taliban at the gates of Panjshir

Saleh has deep links with the CIA and most of the Intelligence Agencies around the world. Saleh has said that the war is not over and he and his band of rebels have fled to Tajikistan and in all probability will start a guerilla movement.

This is one of the reasons why the Taliban has offered to talk with the Resistance leaders which they have rejected.

The Northern regions of Afghanistan are mostly inhabited by the Tajik, Uzbek, and the Hazara community which has never accepted the supremacy of the Paktuns, and the Taliban is mostly led by the Sunni Pakhtuns. Taliban could also face trouble in the Heart province which is mostly inhabited by the Shia community.

Why the fall of Panjshir is different this time, but Taliban troubles are still not over

Taliban could also face trouble from a resurgent ISIS (Khorasan) which is a bitter enemy of the Taliban and wants to bring forth an even stricter form of its version of Islam.

India – Lost all its leverage

India poured billions of dollars into Afghanistan. It also remained smug in its belief that the Taliban would never come to power. Only in the last stages of the American withdrawal did it start engaging with the Taliban. Today it has lost all its leverage, and now faces a formidable enemy in the form of the Taliban. The intentions of Pakistan are very clear and this can be gauged by the statement of its minister who said that the Taliban will help Pakistan liberate Kashmir.

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