The former Afghan first vice-president, Amrullah Saleh, took the head of the last resistance to the Taliban power which has just taken control of almost all of Afghanistan. Refugee in the Panchir valley (north), where former commander Massoud resisted the Taliban between 1996 and 2001, when the latter ruled the country, Mr. Saleh speaks for the first time since the fall of Kabul, on August 15, and the flight to the United Arab Emirates of President Ashraf Ghani.

In an audio message, he assures, in particular, to be ready to negotiate with the new regime and to abandon the armed confrontation, on the condition that the Afghan people have “His say on the type of State” who will preside over the destiny of the country. However, he does not specify what he expects from the new masters of Kabul in terms of the participation of Afghans in political and institutional choices. The Taliban have already indicated that they intend to apply Sharia law and that they will set up a government of God and not of the people.

Amrullah Saleh joined the last faithful of Ahmad Shah Massoud, son of Commander Massoud killed by Al-Qaida in 2001, in Panchir. This valley is today surrounded by Taliban fighters and cut off from all channels of supply and international support. If, in his message, he assures that there will be no “No surrender” or “No declaration of allegiance”, this intervention also resembles, in certain respects, a last stand and an outstretched hand for lack of being able to really oppose militarily.

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Last square of resistance

Armed with a limited number of troops, this square of resistance is the last to refuse defeat. The regular army and all the security forces suddenly collapsed in less than forty-five days, when the United States had, in fact, completed the withdrawal of its soldiers from the country. Even if officially, US President Joe Biden had set August 31 as the date for the departure of his forces, the Taliban had no other obstacles than the Afghan army at the beginning of July.

It appeared that the state and resolve of the Afghan forces had been grossly overstated. Its workforce, estimated at nearly 300,000 people, hid an institution demotivated by significant losses and desertions. Whole units surrendered or fled for lack of reinforcements and the means to fight. The Kabul regime has been unable to ensure the establishment of operational logistics lines.

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