Ahmad Massoud, leader of Afghanistan’s last major outpost of anti-Taliban resistance, said on Sunday he hoped to hold peaceful talks with the terror group that seized power in Kabul a week ago, but its troops were ready to fight.
“We want to make the Taliban realize that negotiations are the only way forward,” he told Reuters by phone from his stronghold in the mountainous Panjshir Valley northwest of Kabul, where he has collected remnants of regular army units and special forces, as well as local militia. units.
“We don’t want a war to break out.”
However, he said his supporters were ready to fight if the Taliban forces, who have so far stayed out of Panjshir, try to invade.
“They want to defend, they want to fight, they want to resist any totalitarian regime.”
Massoud, son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, one of the main leaders of the anti-Soviet resistance in the 1980s, said the troops came not only from Panjshir, which before 2001 also held out against the Taliban.
“We defend the whole country in one province.”
He called for an inclusive, comprehensive government in Kabul representing all of Afghanistan’s different ethnic groups and said a “totalitarian regime” should not be recognized by the international community.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)