One year after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, Ahmad Masoud, the leader of the resistance movement in Panjshir Front, explains the hopes and fears about his country in an interview with the Atlantic Council.
On the anniversary of the Taliban’s domination of Afghanistan, Ahmad Masoud, the son of famous anti-Soviet resistance commander Ahmad Shah Masoud, asserted that there is ‘no other option’ but to fight on against the Taliban.
“I am willing and ready to forgive the blood of my father for the sake of peace in Afghanistan and security and stability in Afghanistan. But I and other Afghans are not willing to give in to the will of terrorism,” Masoud said in an interview with the Atlantic Council this past Wednesday.
“There’s no other option but to resist until [Taliban members] understand and realize they need to also submit—as [do] all of us—to a legitimate process which brings a legitimate government which is accountable to the people of Afghanistan, and also to the world,” he also noted.
Masoud called the dialogue with the Taliban necessary, but noted that the they are an extremist group that do not believe in negotiations, and therefore the resistance front will not stop fighting the them.
The leader of the national resistance front also emphasized on the creation of a legitimate and responsive government to the people of Afghanistan and the world.
After the escape of Ashraf Ghani and his relatives from Afghanistan on August 15 last year, Ahmad Masoud moved to Panjshir and formed the national resistance front with a number of former officials, soldiers and a number of Afghan citizens and started fighting against the Taliban.
It was the West that revived the Taliban
The United States signed a peace agreement with the Taliban after two years of negotiations with the Taliban leaders in Doha back in 2020. This was the first major step towards paving the way for the return to power for the Taliban. The Americans and a number of Western countries thought the group had changed, but Ahmad Masoud believes the Taliban leaders are even more extreme than the last time they were in power back in 1996.
Masoud then demanded the world to avoid recognizing the Taliban because as he noted that the ideology of Taliban is similar to international terrorists. “They failed in fighting international terrorism because they share the same ideology as terrorist groups. They failed in creating inclusivity because they don’t believe in it.” Masoud said.
He also pointed to the killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul and concluded that “the killing of Ayman al-Zawahiri in the most protected part under the control of the Taliban is a clear sign of the alignment of this group with al-Qaeda.” Masoud’s father was assassinated by al-Qaeda just days before the September 11 attacks.
Masoud emphasized that the national resistance front is trying to build a democratic and decentralized system of governance in Afghanistan, but expressed his concerns that several countries have already established ties with the Taliban and have sent ambassadors to Kabul. According to Masoud, these diplomatic interactions with the Taliban will only lead to greater security challenges.
Referring to the Western support for Ukraine and Taiwan in their fights against Russia and China respectively, Masoud added that Afghans would see “hypocrisy” in the West’s stance on defending democracy and that western countries have so far failed to also help the Afghan people fight off their own tyrants.